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The Silk Road cultural festival.

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Mayor of this central Iranian city says that a new chapter has been opened in relations between Isfahan and Gwangju, the sixth largest city in South Korea. On the sidelines of the ceremony, the Silk Road cultural festival was held here that Isfahan mayor described it as a reminiscent of historical ties between Iran and South Korea. The Silk Road or Silk Route is an ancient network of trade routes that were central to cultural interaction through regions of Asia connecting the West and East.

 

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon plans a preliminary campaign to connect with citizens

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SEOUL, Jan. 9 (Yonhap) — Upon arriving in his home country this week, former U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, a potential presidential contender, will strive to reach out to citizens and listen to them, a source said on Monday, in an apparent move to build grassroots support ahead of a presidential election this year. The source close to him said that he plans to set up a down-to-earth preliminary campaign team with the initial theme of “going into the midst of citizens.”

U.S. forces might partecipate to a South Korean-led operations to kill North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un

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U.S. forces are expected to participate in a South Korean-led operation to kill North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un in the event of war, according to military sources Sunday. “The South Korean military will form a special brigade based on that of the U.S. sometime later this year,” said a high-ranking government official on the condition of anonymity, adding that U.S. special agents are expected to be under Korean command during the operation.

Government’s low-key approach on sharing cost of stationing USFK is coming under scrutiny

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The government’s low-key approach on sharing the cost of stationing the U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) here is coming under scrutiny as the new U.S. government is likely to demand more money. Korea and the United States hold negotiations on cost-sharing for the upkeep of 28,000 American troops every five years under the Special Measures Agreement (SMA). Seoul pays about half the cost — 944.1 billion won ($782 million) and 932 billion won in 2016 and 2015, respectively. The last SMA was made in 2014 and the next negotiations for 2019 through 2023 are likely to begin later this year, according to the Foreign Ministry.

President Park Geun-hye refused to testify

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South Korean President Park Geun-hye on Tuesday refused to testify in a case that will decide her future following her impeachment over a corruption scandal, forcing the Constitutional Court to delay the start of oral arguments.
After Park’s refusal, the nine-justice court asked her to testify on Thursday, when some of her current and former aides are also scheduled to testify. Her no-show brought criticism from lawmakers, who serve as prosecutors in the trial.

2017 is going to be the most opportune time for nuclear development

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Next year will be the most opportune time for North Korea to bolster its nuclear program because of upcoming leadership changes in the United States and South Korea, according to a senior North Korean official who defected recently to the South. ‘With South Korea holding presidential elections and the U.S. undergoing an administration transition, the North sees 2017 as the prime time for nuclear development,’ said Thae Yong-ho, who was North Korea’s second highest ranking diplomat in London.

Official review of President Park Geun-hye’s impeachment will start next Monday

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Seoul, Dec 26 (IANS) South Korea’s Constitutional Court said on Monday that it will start the official review of the impeachment of President Park Geun-hye next week. The National Assembly voted on December 9 to oust Park from office over a corruption and influence-peddling scandal involving her and her longtime confidante Choi Soon-sil, Yonhap news agency reported. The top court said its preparation procedure will be completed this week after it receives the results of the prosecution’s investigation into the case.

Ban Ki-moon virtually declared his bid to run for South Korea's presidency

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Outgoing U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon virtually declared his bid to run for South Korea’s presidency, on Tuesday. During a meeting with Korean correspondents at the U.N. headquarters in New York, Ban said he will find ways to use his 10 years of experience at the United Nations for his country — the clearest indication yet of his presidential ambitions.”If what I have seen, learned and felt while in office for 10 years could help develop Korea, I will not spare myself for the country,” Ban said.

Seoul: 8th mass anti-President protest on Saturday

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The 8th mass anti-President rally is under way in downtown Seoul on Saturday. Nearly 770,000 people joined the protest, demanding the Constitutional Court speed up its review of the endorsed impeachment motion against President Park Geun-hye and make a ruling removing Park from the Presidency permanently.The protest came one day after the President’s attorneys dismissed all impeachment charges. They urged the court to reject the impeachment motion that was endorsed on Dec. 9 with overwhelming support of opposition lawmakers and defiant members of Park’s ruling Saenuri Party.

Trilateral talks in Seoul between South Korea, U.S and Japan

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Top nuclear envoys of South Korea, the United States and Japan vowed on Tuesday to closely cooperate in carrying out the latest sanctions imposed on North Korea following its September nuclear test. In their trilateral talks in Seoul, they also pledged to try to verify whether the punitive measures are faithfully implemented as part of efforts to curb Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile development. The meeting was attended by Kim Hong-kyun, special representative for Korean Peninsula peace and security affairs at the Foreign Ministry, and his U.S. and Japanese counterparts, Joseph Yun and Kenji Kanasugi, respectively.

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