Yonhap News Summary

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

(LEAD) S. Korea to focus on containing omicron variant with tightened anti-virus measures: PM

SEOUL — South Korea will focus on containing the omicron variant of the novel coronavirus till the end of this year as the country started to enforce tightened social distancing measures amid rising daily infections, Prime Minster Kim Boo-kyum said Monday.

“The threat of the omicron variant is becoming apparent,” Kim said during a COVID-19 response meeting in Seoul. “Although we do not have a clear grasp of the omicron variant, what looks certain is that it is highly contagious.”

(LEAD) Foreign ministry’s ODA budget rises 16.7 pct for 2022

SEOUL — South Korea’s foreign ministry said Monday it will expand foreign aid spending next year to help tackle global health challenges and establish an economic security center meant to bolster its capacity to handle supply chain issues.

The National Assembly on Friday approved slightly more than 3 trillion won (US$2.5 billion) of the 2022 budget for the ministry, up 5.8 percent from this year.

Samsung’s Lee to visit UAE, Saudi Arabia to cement network, seek biz opportunities

SEOUL — Samsung Group’s de facto leader Lee Jae-yong is set to leave for the United Arab Emirates on Monday, the company said, in the latest move to expand global networks and seek new business opportunities.

The trip will also take the vice chairman of Samsung Electronics Co. to Saudi Arabia. Lee plans to enhance cooperation in the telecommunication sector and check out new trends in the Middle East, Samsung said without elaborating.

Omicron fears grip universities due to suspected infections of foreign students

SEOUL — Fears of omicron are spreading on several university campuses in Seoul, school officials said Monday, as some of their foreign students are suspected of having contracted the highly contagious COVID-19 variant.

One foreign student each from Seoul National University (SNU), Hankuk University of Foreign Studies (HUFS) and Kyunghee University has been classified as a suspected case of omicron variant, the officials said.

Yoon vows to achieve change of gov’t, make nation of fairness

SEOUL — Yoon Suk-yeol, the presidential candidate of the main opposition People Power Party (PPP), vowed Monday to achieve a change of government and make a nation of fairness as his party’s election campaign committee officially set sail.

Yoon made the promise at an event marking the launch of the PPP’s presidential election committee, which came about a month after he won the party’s primary.

(LEAD) Extension of vaccine pass to teens met with angry reaction by students, parents

SEOUL — Teenage students and parents are mounting protests over the looming enforcement of vaccine passports for adolescents, saying the measure amounts to forcing vaccination upon minors and could hinder the learning rights of the unvaccinated.

Amid the COVID-19 resurgence and a pileup of infections among young students, the government announced that the vaccine pass requirements will be extended to students aged 12 to 18, starting in February.

S. Korea eyes early implementation of eased capital gain taxes on home sales

SEOUL — South Korea said Monday it seeks the early implementation of a revised act that will raise the tax exemption limit for capital gains of property sales for single-home owners in a bid to help stabilize the housing market ahead of the presidential election.

Last week, the National Assembly approved a revision to the income tax act that calls for easing a threshold of capital gains tax exemptions on real estate sales for single-housing owners to 1.2 billion won (US$1 million) from the previous 900 million won.