Yonhap News Summary

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

Seoul city looking at schools as 1st venue for COVID-19 self-test kits

SEOUL — The Seoul metropolitan government said Thursday it is looking at schools as the first venue to introduce COVID-19 self-test kits following consultations with the central government.

Park Yoo-mi, a disease control official at the city government, told a press briefing that there were many opinions in favor of introducing the kits in schools for a trial run during an advisory meeting with experts on Wednesday.

S. Korean economy to grow 3.5 pct in 2021 on brisk exports: KERI

SEOUL — South Korea’s economy is expected to grow in the mid-3 percent range this year on resilient exports, a leading private think tank said Thursday.

Asia’s fourth-largest economy is likely to expand 3.5 percent on-year this year, a sharp turnaround from a 1 percent contraction in 2020, according to the Korea Economic Research Institute (KERI).

(LEAD) Seoul stocks up for 4th day on economic recovery hope

SEOUL — South Korean stocks finished higher to extend their gains to a fifth session Thursday amid expectations that the economic recovery would be quicker and stronger than expected. The Korean won fell against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 11.95 points, or 0.38 percent, to close at 3,194.33.

(LEAD) Moon says S. Korea’s economy depends on chipmaking industry

SEOUL — President Moon Jae-in pledged strong and various support Thursday for South Korea’s semiconductor sector, calling it a core national strategic industry to decide the fate of the nation’s economy.

He was chairing a rare “expanded meeting” of economy-related ministers at Cheong Wa Dae. It was joined by the chief executives of eight local firms, including Samsung Electronics, SK hynix, Hyundai Motor and INFAC, an automotive system supplier.

(LEAD) S. Korean firm, Russia’s RDIF agree on Sputnik V vaccine tech tranfer

SEOUL — South Korean bio-tech company Isu Abxis said Thursday that a technology transfer deal with Russia’s sovereign wealth fund will pave the way for it to produce Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine soon.

Under the agreement with Russia’s sovereign wealth fund, Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), and local bio firm GL Rapha, Isu Abxis will manufacture Sputnik V in the country.

(3rd LD) SsangYong Motor again under court receivership, creditors aim to find new investor

SEOUL — SsangYong Motor Co. was placed under court receivership once again Thursday as its Indian parent Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. has failed to attract an investor amid the prolonged COVID-19 pandemic and its financial status is further worsening.

The Seoul Bankruptcy Court approved the debt-rescheduling process for SsangYong Motor as U.S. vehicle importer HAAH Automotive Holdings Inc. didn’t submit a letter of intent (LOI) to acquire the financially troubled carmaker.

Cheong Wa Dae to soon announce PM’s resignation, replacement nomination: sources

SEOUL — Cheong Wa Dae was widely expected to announce the resignation of Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun and the nomination of his replacement this week, according to ruling party and presidential office insiders Thursday.

“Prime Minister Chung has already offered his resignation to President Moon Jae-in. My understanding is that there will be an official announcement Friday,” a source familiar with the matter told Yonhap News Agency.

S. Korea-U.S. alliance to remain unaffected by congressional hearing on leaflet ban: official

SEOUL — The upcoming U.S. congressional hearing on South Korea’s ban on the sending of anti-Pyongyang leaflets into North Korea will not have any impact on the alliance between Seoul and Washington, an official said Thursday.

The unification ministry official told reporters that the congressional hearing is “not directly related to the South Korea-U.S. alliance” as a bipartisan caucus of the U.S. House of Representatives is set to hold the hearing on Thursday (U.S. Eastern time).

N. Korea slams Japan over renewed claims to Dokdo

SEOUL — North Korea’s state media on Thursday slammed Japan over its recent approval of school textbooks renewing its claims to South Korea’s easternmost islets of Dokdo, calling the move a “shameless” distortion of history that can never be tolerated.

Last month, a textbook screening committee under Japan’s education ministry approved textbooks for high school students, some of which contain Tokyo’s territorial claims to Dokdo.

Vice FM Choi to travel to Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico next week

SEOUL — First Vice Foreign Minister Choi Jong-kun will travel to Colombia, Costa Rica and Mexico next week as part of efforts to expand cooperation with Central and South America, the foreign ministry said Thursday.

Choi will visit the countries from Sunday through April 26, as a follow-up to last month’s forum on cooperation between South Korea and Latin America in digital technologies, infrastructure and other areas, the ministry said.