Yonhap News Summary
The following is the first summary of major stories moved by Yonhap News Agency on Monday.
N.K. ready to conduct nuclear test at any time: Seoul
SEOUL -- South Korea's unification ministry said Monday that North Korea is ready to conduct a nuclear test at any time as Pyongyang's provocation would hinge on its internal plan for nuclear weapons development.
Satellite imagery of the North's nuclear test site in the northeast area shows that a tunnel under continued excavation has displayed potential for North Korea to carry out an additional nuke test of significantly higher explosive yields, according to 38 North, a U.S. website monitoring the North.
Ex-U.S. Amb. Hill: Next S. Korean gov't less likely to 'follow our lead'
WASHINGTON -- South Korea is likely to see the emergence of a "left-of-center" government that is more accommodating to North Korea and less willing to follow the U.S. lead, former U.S. Ambassador to South Korea Christopher Hill said.
South Korea is scheduled to elect a new president in May after former President Park Geun-hye was forced out of office in the wake of a massive corruption scandal involving a longtime friend accused of using her ties to Park to amass wealth and other personal gains.
Parliamentary speaker calls for unity ahead of election
SEOUL -- National Assembly Speaker Chung Sye-kyun on Monday urged political parties to cooperate in normalizing the country following the ouster of Park Geun-hye as president.
"The parliament is facing various tasks and challenges. It needs to normalize state affairs and conduct the presidential election," Chung said during a meeting with party representatives.
Prosecutors mull over investigation into ousted Park
SEOUL -- Prosecutors are preparing to open an investigation into former President Park Geun-hye, as she lost her presidential immunity last week with the Constitutional Court's approval of her impeachment, sources said Monday.
The sources said prosecutors are expected to begin with sending a summons to Park, who has stayed away from direct investigations by prosecutors and special counsel. The Constitution stipulates that an incumbent president is immune from indictment except in cases of treason or insurrection.
Majority of S. Korean firms expect worse conditions, plan to cut investment in U.S.
SEOUL -- A majority of South Korean businesses in the United States expect additional difficulties down the road due to what many view as protectionist trade policies of the new U.S. administration, a survey showed Monday.
More than 7 out of every 10 respondents said they were already facing difficulties in setting up new plans for their businesses and investments in the U.S., according to the Korea International Trade Association (KITA).
Global drugmakers seek to join hands with startups
SEOUL -- Global pharmaceutical companies are seeking to join hands with local startups as part of their effort to increase research and development (R&D) productivity, industry officials said Monday.
The move is part of their effort to adopt "open innovation," a network of collaboration with external institutes and individuals, as opposed to centralized R&D facilities to reduce costs, sources said.
Hyundai Heavy in talks to bag more shipbuilding deals
SEOUL -- Hyundai Heavy Industries Co., a major shipyard here, is in talks with at least two overseas shipping firms to build a slew of very large crude carriers (VLCCs), the combined value of which may reach up to US$1 billion, industry sources said Monday.
According to the sources, Hyundai Heavy is in negotiations with a Hong Kong-based shipping firm and another firm based in Singapore over the deals to build up to 12 ships, when options are considered.