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Yonhap News Summary

Yonhap News Summary 13:30 September 14, 2023

The following is the first summary of major stories moved by Yonhap News Agency on Thursday.

(2nd LD) Kim invites Putin to N. Korea; Putin accepts: state media

SEOUL -- North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has invited Russian President Vladimir Putin to visit his country during their summit at Russia's spaceport, and Putin accepted the offer, Pyongyang's state media reported Thursday, as the two isolated countries seek to bolster ties.

Kim made the invitation at an official dinner with Putin on Wednesday after their summit at the Vostochny space center in Russia's Amur region, the North's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said, in their first meeting in over four years.

Rail workers go on 4-day general strike

DAEJEON -- Unionized rail workers went on a four-day general strike Thursday, their first collective action in about four years, which is expected to reduce passenger and freight train services by up to 60 percent.

The Korean Railway Workers' Union kicked off the walkout at 9 a.m. nationwide, demanding better working conditions and an expansion of KTX high-speed train services to include a lucrative station in southern Seoul.

The strike, set to last until 9 a.m. Monday, is the first since the last one in November of 2019.

(2nd LD) U.S. concerned about burgeoning defense cooperation between N. Korea, Russia: White House

WASHINGTON -- The United States is concerned about growing defense cooperation between North Korea and Russia, a National Security Council (NSC) official said Wednesday, adding the U.S. will take appropriate steps if necessary to counter any potential arms deal between the two countries.

John Kirby, NSC strategic communications coordinator, underscored that Russian support for North Korea's illicit nuclear and ballistic missile programs would be of "significant concern" to the U.S.

Unification minister voices 'deep' concerns about possible N. Korea-Russia arms deal

SEOUL-- Unification Minister Kim Yung-ho on Thursday expressed his "deep" concerns about military cooperation and a possible arms deal between North Korea and Russia, as the leaders of the two isolated countries held a rare summit this week.

Kim addressed reporters a day after North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and Russian President Vladimir Putin held a summit at the Vostochny space center in eastern Russia on Wednesday in their first meeting in more than four years.

U.S. gov't approves possible sale of up to 25 F-35A stealth jets to S. Korea

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Department of State has approved a possible sale to South Korea of up to 25 F-35A radar-evading fighters and related equipment to help the East Asian ally maintain a "credible" defense capability, a government agency said Wednesday.

The Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) under the Department of Defense made the announcement on the potential government-to-government Foreign Military Sale estimated to cost US$5.06 billion.

BOK says to keep restrictive stance, review need for further rate hike

SEOUL -- South Korea's central bank said Thursday it will continue to maintain its current restrictive policy stance, given still high inflation, while judging whether an additional rate hike is needed.

In its monetary policy report to the parliament, the Bank of Korea (BOK) said inflation is expected to top its target level for a considerable time amid a gradual improvement in economic conditions and still higher uncertainties.

Samsung's giant billboards become operational at Vatican

VATICAN/SEOUL -- Samsung Electronics Co. has finished installing four LED billboards at St. Peter's Square in the Vatican, where the Pope gives his weekly address.

Samsung's billboards became operational in time for the Papal Audience, the general audience session held every Wednesday morning for Catholic followers and tourists visiting the revered sanctuary.

S. Korea's imports of Chinese urea go without hitch: industry ministry

SEOUL -- South Korea has imported urea from China normally and the domestic supply remains stable, Seoul's industry ministry said Thursday, dismissing concerns of a shortage over some exporters' recent cut in shipments of the industry substance.

Some Chinese urea exporters announced a plan to reduce their export volume, though the South Korean government confirmed that Beijing has not implemented any official curbs.

Prosecutors raid Newstapa, JTBC over fake interview allegations

SEOUL -- Prosecutors on Thursday raided online news outlet Newstapa and cable channel JTBC in connection with their reporting of an alleged fake interview given in 2021 to discredit then opposition presidential candidate Yoon Suk Yeol.

The Seoul Central District Prosecutors Office sent prosecutors and investigators to Newstapa's office in central Seoul and JTBC's head office in western Seoul in the morning to seize materials related to their coverage of the interview on the eve of last year's presidential election.

Top court confirms 2-year sentence for Don Spike over drug use

SEOUL -- The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld a lower court's two-year prison sentence for Don Spike, a disgraced composer and television personality who was convicted of habitual drug use.

The 46-year-old musician, whose real name is Kim Min-su, was indicted in October last year for purchasing and using methamphetamine on multiple occasions and a lower court sentenced him to a three-year prison term, suspended for five years, in January this year.

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