South Korean Presidential Office Promises Strict Response to Alleged Coercion at Doctors’ RallySouth Korea’s First Military Spy Satellite Captures Detailed Images of Pyongyang

SEOUL—The South Korean presidential office declared a "zero tolerance" policy on Sunday in response to allegations that some doctors attempted to forcibly mobilize pharmaceutical sales representatives to participate in a rally against the government's plan to increase medical school admissions. This stance was announced as approximately 20,000 doctors were expected to converge on Yeouido Park in Seoul to express their opposition to the proposal to raise the medical school admission quota by 2,000 starting next year.

According to Yonhap News Agency, several posts surfaced on online communities before the rally, alleging that doctors were pressuring pharmaceutical salesmen to attend the event. Given the influence doctors hold over the prescription and selection of drugs, one post claimed that a sales representative was compelled to participate under the threat of having their products delisted by a doctor.

In light of these allegations, the presidential office issued a stern warning that any verified illegal activities would be addressed with utmost seriousness. An official from the presidential office informed Yonhap News Agency of their intent to closely monitor the situation, emphasizing the potential risks to public health and safety posed by the doctors' collective actions.

The police have initiated a legal investigation into the claims, suggesting that if substantiated, these actions could amount to illegal coercion and breaches of the Medical Service Act.

Meanwhile, Interior Minister Lee Sang-min reiterated calls for striking trainee doctors to resume work, offering leniency to those who return to their hospitals by the specified Sunday deadline. This appeal was made as part of Lee's comments during a live interview on KBS, highlighting the continued absence of thousands of intern and resident doctors from general hospitals nationwide, now into their 13th day of protest against the quota increase plan.

Despite the government's previous ultimatum, which included threats of criminal punishment or the revocation of medical licenses for non-compliance, the warning has yet to significantly impact the ongoing strike. Minister Lee emphasized that the proposed increase in medical school admissions is crucial for supporting the development of South Korea's burgeoning bio industry, which he anticipates will become a vital sector for the country's economic growth.

SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea's initial foray into military space reconnaissance has yielded "good-resolution" images of central Pyongyang, marking a significant milestone for the country's defense capabilities. This development follows the successful launch of the nation's first indigenous military spy satellite in December.

According to Yonhap News Agency, the satellite, which was launched from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California on December 2, is now enabling South Korea to independently acquire satellite imagery of North Korean military sites and leadership activities. The electro-optical and infrared (EO/IR) satellite has commenced test transmissions, sending back images of various regions within North Korea, including the capital city of Pyongyang.

A military source remarked on the quality of the images, stating, "Seen from the results of the editing on recently transmitted satellite photos, the resolution is as good as expected." The source also mentioned the clarity with which central areas of Pyongyang and vessels at a port were visible in the photos. Although the current images require significant editing, expectations are set for the delivery of higher-resolution images starting next month.

For reasons of intelligence, specific details of the photographed subjects were not disclosed. However, it's noted that central Pyongyang includes critical locations such as the headquarters of the Workers' Party of Korea and the office of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

Another source indicated that the satellite is on track to commence its full reconnaissance mission by June or July as initially planned. This operational milestone is anticipated to diminish South Korea's reliance on United States satellite imagery for insights into North Korea, thereby enhancing Seoul's autonomous surveillance capabilities.

In a broader initiative to bolster its monitoring of North Korea, South Korea has outlined plans to launch four additional satellites into orbit by 2025. This includes a second satellite equipped with synthetic aperture radar, slated for an April launch from an air force base in Florida.

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