≡ S. Korea, US Seeking High-Level Talks On Defense Cost Sharing: Yonhap
South Korea and the United States are reportedly seeking to hold high-level talks to renew a cost-sharing agreement for American troops stationed here after failing to reach a deal in a series of negotiations last year.
Yonhap News quoted a senior government official as saying on Thursday that when negotiations are not going well, the basic rule is to have higher-level officials sit down for talks.
Asked whether South Korean President Moon Jae-in and U.S. President Donald Trump could exchange views on the issue, the official is reported to have said "all possibilities are open."
The two sides held 10 rounds of talks last year but struggled to narrow gaps on how much South Korea should contribute to the cost.
Washington wants Seoul to significantly increase its share from the current 960 billion won a year.■
≡ Ex-Chief Justice Released After Lengthy Questioning Over Judicial Power Abuse Scandal
Former Supreme Court Chief Justice Yang Sung-tae has been sent back home after facing 14 hours of questioning by prosecutors probing a judicial power abuse scandal surrounding the top court under the former Park Geun-hye government.
Investigators are said to have interrogated Yang on a slew of allegations, such as delaying a damages suit filed by Korean victims of Japan's wartime forced labor at the behest of the Park administration.
He is also accused of using highly sensitive trials as bargaining chips in persuading the Park government to establish a separate court of appeals.
He is reported to have denied any wrongdoing, saying that he does not remember or was not aware of such activities.
Prosecutors are expected to summon Yang for another round of questioning as early as this weekend and decide whether to request an arrest warrant for him.■
≡ Domestic Oil Prices Drop For 10th Straight Week
Retail oil prices have dropped for the tenth consecutive week.
The oil information service Opinet says the average price of domestic gasoline was 1,355 won per liter in the second week of January, down 20.1 won from the week before.
This marks the lowest gasoline price in 34 months.
The average diesel price also fell 19.5 won to 1,253 won.■
≡ 70 Teams Apply To Remodel Gwanghwamun Square: Seoul City
Seoul city says a total of 70 teams from 17 different countries have entered an international competition to remodel the Gwanghwamun Square.
38 teams from Korea and 32 teams from abroad submitted their ideas.
The city government announced last April a plan to expand the square more than three times its size by 2021.
The winner of the competition will be announced on January 21st.■