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Yonhap News Summary

2018/02/01 17:00

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


(Olympics) IOC chief congratulates S. Korea for providing 'extraordinary villages' for athletes

PYEONGCHANG -- International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach on Thursday welcomed the official opening of the athletes' living quarters for the PyeongChang Olympics, calling them "extraordinary villages."

   Bach attended the opening ceremony of the PyeongChang Village in PyeongChang, the host city for the 2018 Winter Games. It is one of two villages built for Olympic athletes, with another located in Gangneung, a sub-host city that will stage all ice sports.

"We're here at the very place where the heart of this Winter Olympic Games will be," Bach said in his congratulatory speech. "These two villages will allow the athletes not only to prepare for the competitions, but will also allow athletes to enjoy the spirit of the Olympics Games and show what the Olympic Games are about."



(LEAD) Seoul stocks inch up on retail buying

(ATTN: ADDS bond yields at bottom)

SEOUL -- South Korean stocks rose slightly Thursday as retail investors were net buyers of local stocks. The Korean won fell against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) added 2.08 points, or 0.08 percent, to close at 2,568.54. Trade volume was moderate at 588 million shares worth 7.77 trillion won (US$7.24 billion).

The local stock market opened higher as investors took their cues from gains on Wall Street overnight.

Market sentiment was buoyed by a U.S. Federal Reserve prediction of stronger economic growth, analysts said.


S. Korea lauds Trump address for pledging firm will to resolve N. Korean nukes

SEOUL -- South Korea on Thursday lauded United State President Donald Trump's recent congress address for displaying "strong determination" to resolve North Korean nuclear weapons issues.

In his first State of the Union address before Congress on Tuesday, Trump declared, "North Korea's reckless pursuit of nuclear missiles could very soon threaten our homeland." He also said, "We are waging a campaign of maximum pressure to prevent that from happening."

   Trump continued, "I will not repeat the mistakes of past administrations that got us into this dangerous position," and added that past concessions led to the North's aggression and provocation. He also referred to the North's dire human rights conditions, saying, "No regime has oppressed its own citizens more totally or brutally than the cruel dictatorship in North Korea."



U.S. seeks S. Korea's understanding of delayed appointment of top envoy

SEOUL -- The United States has sought South Korea's "understanding" with regard to Washington's recent withdrawal of Victor Cha from consideration for ambassador to Seoul, the foreign ministry in Seoul said Thursday, adding that the allies continue to cooperate on filling the long-vacant post as soon as possible.

The White House has dropped its bid to appoint Cha as ambassador to the Asian ally, reportedly due to his disagreement with the Donald Trump administration's consideration of a limited military strike on North Korea.

Cha, a Korean American, served as director for Asian affairs on the White House National Security Council in the George W. Bush administration. He is currently the Korea chair at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.


Samsung Electronics to deliver bioethanol stoves to refugee camp in Kenya

SEOUL -- Samsung Electronics Co. said Thursday it will deliver 10,000 bioethanol stoves to a refugee camp in Kenya in its latest move to help address air pollution and improve public health in the East African country.

The South Korean tech giant said the eco-friendly stoves are set to be delivered in April to households in the Kakuma refugee camp, home to about 185,000 people.

Bioethanol -- a renewable, clean energy source and a byproduct of sugar production -- could help replace charcoal, the most popular fuel for stoves in the African country.

The burning of charcoal emits toxic fumes and leads to serious air pollution, and its widespread use could also accelerate deforestation.


(LEAD) (Olympics) Figure skating pairs duo headlines N. Korean delegation to PyeongChang 2018

(ATTN: CHANGES lead; ADDS details)

GANGNEUNG -- A figure skating pairs duo headlines the list of North Korean athletes set to arrive here Thursday to start preparing for the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics.

Ryom Tae-ok and Kim Ju-sik are among 10 athletes scheduled to land at Yangyang International Airport on a South Korean chartered plane. They will check in to Gangneung Olympic Village in Gangneung, about 50 kilometers south of the airport. Gangneung is the sub-host city where all ice sports will be held during the Feb. 9-25 Olympics.

The list of athletes was made available via Info 2018, a website providing information on athletes and competitions to the accredited media during the PyeongChang Games.


Jailed ex-leader Park faces fresh charge for election interference

SEOUL -- Ousted and jailed former President Park Geun-hye was additionally charged for carrying out illegal opinion polls ahead of the 2016 general elections in a bid to nominate those friendly toward her as legislator candidates, prosecutors said Thursday.

The Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office said it indicted her on the count of violating the election law. She is suspected of involvement in conducting 120 surveys to canvass opinion in Gangnam, southern Seoul, and Daegu -- both conservative strongholds -- before the April 13 vote.

Prosecutors believe that the polls were carried out in order for the Park government to register so-called pro-Park figures as candidates so as to tighten her grip on power.