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Yonhap News Summary

2018/02/13 17:16

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The following is the second summary of major stories moved by Yonhap News Agency on Tuesday.

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Ex-president Park's friend gets 20-year prison term in influence-peddling scandal

SEOUL -- A Seoul court sentenced an old friend of former President Park Geun-hye to 20 years in prison on Tuesday for a string of corruption charges linked to a massive influence-peddling scandal that forced Park from office early last year.

The Seoul Central District Court handed down the verdict on Choi Soon-sil, Park's longtime friend and confidante, on the conviction of bribery, abuse of power and coercion. It ordered her to pay a fine of 18 billion won (US$16.6 million).

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(LEAD) Moon: U.S. expresses willingness to talk to N. Korea

SEOUL -- President Moon Jae-in said Tuesday the United States has expressed a willingness to talk to North Korea.

Moon made the remark during summit talks with Latvian President Raimonds Vejonis, asking for Latvia's support for efforts toward a resumption of dialogue between the U.S. and the North, according to presidential spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom.

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(LEAD) Chinese vice premier to visit S. Korea for closing ceremony of Olympics

SEOUL -- Chinese Vice Premier Liu Yandong will visit South Korea later this month to attend the closing ceremony of the PyeongChang Winter Olympics, the foreign ministry said Tuesday.

Liu will come to South Korea on Feb. 24 for a three-day stay as Chinese President Xi Jinping's special envoy for the Feb. 25 closing ceremony, according to the ministry.

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Two minor parties merge to create new centrist party

SEOUL -- Two minor opposition parties, the People's Party and the Bareun Party, officially merged into a new party Tuesday in a marriage of political groups with opposite support bases amid questions about how successful the experiment will be in South Korean politics, where regional loyalties remain strong.

The two parties held a joint meeting at the National Assembly to approve the merger and the creation of the new Bareun Future Party. They plan to hold a national convention to formally launch the new party later in the day.

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Prosecutors drop charges against McDonald's Korea in burger patty scandal

SEOUL -- Prosecutors said Tuesday they will not file charges against the local unit of McDonald's, citing a lack of evidence undercooked burgers at its restaurants caused illness among some customers.

The Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office released the result of its investigation into the fast food chain that was prompted by complaints from a few consumers last year, including a mother who claimed McDonald's a burger was responsible for her 5-year-old daughter's incurable kidney disease.

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Regulator to inspect accounts held by Samsung chairman under borrowed names

SEOUL -- Financial authorities will inspect brokerage accounts under borrowed names used by Samsung Group's ailing chairman, Lee Kun-hee, the nation's top financial regulator said Tuesday.

The remarks by Financial Services Commission (FSC) Chairman Choi Jong-ku came one day after the Ministry of Government Legislation clarified that the government can levy a fine against Lee for managing funds in so-called borrowed-name accounts.

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(Olympics) Speed skater Lee Sang-hwa to skip women's 1,000m to focus on 500m

GANGNEUNG -- South Korean speed skater Lee Sang-hwa on Tuesday decided to skip the women's 1,000-meter race slated for a day later to focus on the 500m competition.

An official from the Korean Sport & Olympic Committee said Lee decided to drop the 1,000m race scheduled for Wednesday.

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(Olympics) Joint Korean hockey team's symbolism 'phenomenal': U.S. IOC member

PYEONGCHANG -- The symbolism of unity carried by the joint women's hockey team of the two Koreas is phenomenal and deserves recognition, a senior American Olympic official said Tuesday.

"There's a tremendous amount of pressure over both North and South Korea now competing together, (with) the country here now watching," Angela Ruggiero, an executive board member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), said during a press conference at the Main Press Centre of the Winter Games in PyeongChang.

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