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Yonhap News Summary

2017/03/17 13:34

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

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(3rd LD) Tillerson begins trip to S. Korea amid growing N.K. threats

SEOUL -- U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson began his two-day trip to South Korea on Friday, which is expected to focus on discussing ways to strengthen the bilateral alliance and fend off the growing threats from North Korea.

Tillerson arrived at Osan Air Base in Pyeongtaek, 70 kilometers south of Seoul at about 10:10 a.m. He came from Japan where he held talks with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and others in Tokyo on Thursday.

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N. Korea may have fired 5 missiles on March 6: report

SEOUL -- North Korea may have test-fired five ballistic missiles, instead of four, into the East Sea on March 6, a news report said Friday, speculating that a fifth one ended in failure.

North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency reported on March 7 that four ballistic missiles were launched simultaneously the previous day.

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Ten N. Korean ships seen at Chinese port for possible coal unloading: report

SEOUL -- Ten North Korean ships reportedly carrying coal have arrived at a Chinese port after being stranded in international waters for the past three weeks following China's suspension of coal imports from the North, a U.S. report said Friday, raising concerns about a resumption of their coal trade.

A group of six North Korean merchant vessels including Sai Nal 3 and Jin Hung entered the Chinese Port of Longkou as of 11:00 p.m. Thursday, the Washington-based Voice of America (VOA) reported, citing Marine Traffic, a private website that tracks the movements of ships in real-time.

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Three parties seek four-year, two-term presidency

SEOUL -- South Korea's three major parties excluding the biggest Democratic Party are seeking to revise the Constitution to adopt a four-year, two-term presidency while shortening the next president's tenure to three years. The Korean president currently serves a single, five-year term.

Earlier this week, the Liberty Korea Party, the People's Party, and the Bareun Party agreed to push to hold a referendum on the revision of the Constitution concurrently with the presidential election slated for May 9.

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Leading hopefuls' approval ratings rise slightly: Gallup

SEOUL -- The approval ratings of Moon Jae-in, former head of the Democratic Party, and his in-house rival An Hee-jung, the governor of South Chungcheong Province, rose slightly from the previous week, a Gallup poll showed Friday.

According to the poll conducted by Gallup Korea this week, Moon posted an approval rating of 33 percent, up 1 percentage point from a week earlier. The survey was conducted on 1,004 South Koreans with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.

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Court temporarily bans school from using state-authored history textbook

DAEGU -- A district court on Friday temporarily banned a local high school from using a controversial state-authored history textbook.

The court upheld an injunction request filed by five parents who accused the school authorities of breaking rules in their decision to adopt the textbook. Liberals criticize the state-issued book for its allegedly biased interpretation of events in the nation's modern history.

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S. Korea eyes attracting tourists from all across Asia to overcome THAAD row

SEOUL -- South Korea has stepped up efforts to overhaul its dependence on China for its tourism trade by shifting the focus to other Asian countries to cope with the fallouts triggered by the stationing of an advanced U.S. missile defense system here, sources said Friday.

The country's tourism is bearing the brunt of what appears to be acts of retaliation by Beijing against Seoul's decision reached in July to host a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) battery. China has vehemently objected to the move, saying THAAD's high-power radar can be used to spy on its own military.

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Samsung to begin pre-order sales of Galaxy Tab S3 in U.S.

SEOUL -- Samsung Electronics Co. is set to start pre-orders of its new tablet computer, the Galaxy Tab S3, in the United States later this week, according to the company on Friday.

Samsung unveiled the 9.7-inch tablet computer at an annual wireless technology fair in Spain last month.

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LG Electronics cuts board size

SEOUL -- Shareholders of LG Electronics Inc. approved a plan Friday that reduced the number of board members to seven directors from nine, in what the company says is a move to better cope with the rapidly changing global market environment.

LG Electronics CEO Jo Seong-jin, who was nominated to take up the post last December, was formally appointed at the company's annual shareholder meeting in Seoul.

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KOSPI-KOSDAQ gap widens amid bullish mood for big caps

SEOUL -- The market capitalization gap between South Korea's two stock trade boards -- KOSPI and KOSDAQ -- has continued to grow recently as institutional investors have increasingly favored the main market over the secondary one, data showed Friday.

Many local retail investors, or individuals, called "ants" here, have been sidelined when it comes to profits amid the polarization.

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