Yonhap News Summary | Yonhap News Agency

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

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Defense chiefs of S. Korea, U.S. to hold annual talks on OPCON transfer, N. Korea

SEOUL — South Korea and the United States are set to hold their annual defense ministerial talks in Seoul on Thursday to discuss the envisioned wartime operational control (OPCON) transfer, North Korean threats and bilateral alliance issues, officials here said.

Defense Minister Suh Wook and his U.S. counterpart, Lloyd Austin, will lead the 53rd Security Consultative Meeting (SCM), as the allies are stepping up cooperation for regional stability amid North Korea’s evolving nuclear and missile threats and China’s growing assertiveness.

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(3rd LD) Inflation growth hits 10-year high in Nov. amid rising oil prices

SEOUL — South Korea’s consumer prices rose at the fastest pace in nearly 10 years in November due to surging energy costs and high prices of farm products, data showed Thursday, lending support to the view that the central bank may further raise the policy rate.

The consumer prices increased 3.7 percent in November from a year earlier, accelerating from a 3.2 percent on-year gain in October, according to the data compiled by Statistics Korea.

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(2nd LD) N. Korea to hold key party meeting as leader Kim set to mark 10 years in power

SEOUL — North Korea will hold a key party meeting later this month to discuss plans for the new year, Pyongyang’s state media reported Thursday, raising expectations the North could announce its key domestic and foreign policy directions.

The North made the decision during a politburo meeting of the ruling Workers’ Party held the previous day, presided over by leader Kim Jong-un, where he called 2021 a year of “victory,” according to the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

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Moon says phased return to normalcy faces challenges on omicron concerns

SEOUL — President Moon Jae-in said Thursday the nation’s plan to gradually return to normal life is facing challenges, as the first cases of the omicron variant were detected in South Korea amid growing woes over an ongoing jump in COVID-19 infections.

“The path toward a phased return to normalcy is not smooth, and risks over the new omicron variant are growing,” Moon told a meeting of a national prayer group, the Korea National Prayer Breakfast.

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(2nd LD) Inflation growth hits 10-year high in Nov. amid rising oil prices

SEOUL — South Korea’s consumer prices rose at the fastest pace in nearly 10 years in November due to surging energy costs and high prices of farm products, data showed Thursday, underscoring a build-up in inflationary pressure amid economic recovery.

The consumer prices increased 3.7 percent in November from a year earlier, accelerating from a 3.2 percent on-year gain in October, according to the data compiled by Statistics Korea.

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Seoul reports record high of 2,268 daily COVID-19 cases

SEOUL — The number of Seoul’s daily COVID-19 cases has hit a record high of 2,268, surpassing 2,000 for two straight days, health authorities said Thursday.

Of the cases reported Wednesday, 2,262 were local infections, and six were from overseas, according to the Central Disease Control Headquarters.

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(LEAD) New infections in 5,000s for 2nd day, serious cases at record high amid new variant woes

SEOUL — South Korea’s new coronavirus cases and the number of critically ill patients hit record highs Thursday, heightening concerns over medical capacity amid the spread of COVID-19 and continued surge in critical cases.

South Korea reported 5,266 new COVID-19 cases, including 5,242 local infections, raising the total caseload to 457,612, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA). It marked the second straight day that the number of new coronavirus cases has been above 5,000.

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BTS to be absent from MAMAs due to self-quarantine for all overseas arrivals

SEOUL — K-pop supergroup BTS will be unable to attend the 2021 Mnet Asian Music Awards (MAMAs) scheduled for next week as the members have to go through COVID-19 isolation upon arrival from the United States due to tightened quarantine rules.

The government decided to place all overseas arrivals under a 10-day quarantine for two weeks starting Friday, regardless of their nationalities and vaccination status, to tackle the omicron variant.




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