≡ Ex-President Park To Face Additional Bribery Charges
The Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office says it plans to indict former President Park Geun-hye this afternoon on additional bribery charges.
There's fresh allegations the National Intelligence Service provided Park with up to 200 million won in kickbacks every month between May 2013 and July 2016.
Prosecutors suspect the spy agency paid the former president around 3.8 billion won in total, and that she used those funds personally and to carry out illicit political activities.
Park is in detention and has been standing trial on 18 corruption charges in connection with the massive corruption scandal that led to her impeachment last March.■[2018.01.04]
≡ Time Difference Between Two Koreas Causes Minor Confusion
South and North Korea experienced minor confusion when they tried to make contact again this morning through the restored inter-Korean communication line, mainly due to the time difference between the two countries.
The South reportedly initiated a call at 9:00 a.m. but it went unanswered because it was 8:30 a.m. in Pyongyang, and the North's working hours had not begun.
According to the unification ministry, liaison officers from the two Koreas spoke through the hotline at 9:30 a.m. in which they confirmed the line was working normally.
During the talks, South Korea asked if there was any issue to be notified, to which the North simply answered no and said they will contact the South if they had any updates.
The two sides are said to have not exchanged any details over possible high-level talks proposed by Seoul.■
≡ Seoul Could Scrap 'Comfort Women' Deal: Foreign Minister
Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha says all options are on the table regarding the 2015 Seoul-Tokyo deal on Japan's wartime sexual enslavement of Korean women, including scrapping the deal altogether.
In an interview with a local radio station today, Kang also said the ministry is thinking about ways to overcome differences with Japan, which says a renegotiation of the deal is not possible.
She said the ministry is ready to hear what surviving victims have to say on the matter.■
≡ Govt To Hold Hearing On Follow-Up FTA Talks With China
The trade ministry will hold a public hearing on the negotiations to expand the scope of its free trade agreement with China.
The ministry said policymakers, experts and industry officials will take part in the hearing tomorrow.
The trade deal, which took effect in December 2015, has largely focused on removing tariffs on goods, and the proposed negotiations aim to lower barriers in the service and investment sectors.
The ministry said it will reflect opinions from the hearing to set up the negotiation strategy and notify its plan to the National Assembly before opening talks in the coming months.■
≡ 'Along With The Gods' Tops 10 Mln In Attendance
The fantasy blockbuster "Along With the Gods: The Two Worlds" has topped 10 million in ticket sales, becoming the 16th Korean film ever to reach the milestone.
Lotte Entertainment said the film hit the mark at midnight, just 16 days after its release -- the fastest time ever after "Roaring Currents," the country's top-selling film of all time.
It's also the second film released in 2017 to pass the threshold after "A Taxi Driver," and the 20th in Korean box office history.■[2018.01.04]