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Yonhap News Summary

All News 13:38 January 27, 2016

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

Park mulling visiting Iran: official

SEOUL -- President Park Geun-hye is considering visiting Iran, an official said Wednesday, as Iran has emerged as a land of opportunity following the lifting of international sanctions.

Presidential spokesman Jeong Yeon-guk made the comments to reporters, without elaborating on the time frame for the possible visit.

Russian FM: Five-party nuclear talks 'not a good idea'

MOSCOW -- Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Tuesday reacted negatively to South Korea's proposal to hold five-party nuclear talks excluding North Korea, saying it's "not a good idea" to try to isolate Pyongyang.

South Korean President Park Geun-hye made the suggestion last Friday, raising questions about the effectiveness of the stalled six-party talks on the North's nuclear program and calling for "creative approaches" to deal with the problem.

USFK to use Gray Eagle as wartime drone in Korea

SEOUL -- American troops stationed in South Korea will fly the combat drone Gray Eagle in the event of a war on the Korean Peninsula, officials said Wednesday.

"U.S. Forces Korea is currently operating the Raven at the battalion level and the Shadow at the brigade level," an official at the Republic of Korea-U.S. Combined Division said, referring to the hand-launched unmanned aerial vehicle and the reconnaissance drone.

State tax agency launches probe on 30 offshore tax evasion cases

SEJONG -- South Korea's tax authorities said Wednesday that it has launched probes into 30 offshore tax evasion cases as part of its efforts to clamp down on tax dodging.

The National Tax Service (NTS) said the investigation is targeting companies and individuals who have allegedly concealed their wealth using offshore paper companies in various tax havens around the world.

(2nd LD) Kia Motors Q4 net drops 1.2 pct on weaker overseas demand

SEOUL -- Kia Motors Corp., South Korea's No. 2 automaker, said Wednesday that its fourth-quarter earnings dropped 1.2 percent on-year on weak demand in emerging markets and a one-off loss from its equity ties with affiliates.

Its net profit reached 430.8 billion won (US$359.5 million) during the October-December period compared with a profit of 436.2 billion won a year earlier, the company said in a regulatory filing.

(News Focus) Hyundai's Ioniq to heat up competition in S. Korean hybrid market

SEOUL -- Competition is expected to intensify in the South Korean hybrid vehicle market as two global automakers are set to clash with their new subcompact models that are already drawing favorable responses from customers, market watchers said Wednesday.

With Hyundai Motor Co. and Toyota Motor Corp. claiming to guarantee better functions and improved driving performance than existing models, fuel efficiency remains a major factor that determines the winner in the hybrid market in the years to come.

BOK chief cites China as cause of local slump

SEOUL -- South Korea's central bank chief called for a careful watch for changes in the Chinese economy Wednesday, noting the ongoing troubles in the local economy may have been partly caused by a slowdown in the world's second-largest economy.

"Considering its impact on the global economy, we cannot but be sensitive to changes in the Chinese economy," Bank of Korea (BOK) Gov. Lee Ju-yeol said in a monthly meeting with economists.

(Yonhap Interview) New Latvian ambassador hopes to arrange presidential visits

SEOUL -- Latvia's new ambassador to South Korea voiced hope Wednesday that he would be able to arrange an exchange of visits between the two countries' presidents during his time here.

Amb. Peteris Vaivars took office this month as the Baltic nation's first resident ambassador to Seoul. Latvia opened an embassy here in September, becoming the first Baltic state to do so.

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