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Yonhap News Summary

All News 13:43 April 05, 2016

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

(2nd LD) S. Korea, Mexico to hold talks on free trade deal

MEXICO CITY -- South Korea and Mexico agreed Monday to hold working-level talks later this year on a free trade deal between the two sides, a move that underscored their commitment to further boosting their economic ties.

The agreement was reached at the summit meeting between South Korean President Park Geun-hye and her Mexican counterpart, Enrique Pena Nieto.

Navy launches new missile-armed submarine

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- South Korea's Navy on Tuesday launched its seventh Son Won-il class submarine that is capable of firing off guided missiles, and can contribute to the country's overall military readiness.

The 1,800-ton diesel-electric submarine incorporates the latest technology and possesses a formidable weapons system that can enhance the fleet's fighting capability.

S. Korea dismisses N.K. call for dialogue

SEOUL -- South Korea on Tuesday dismissed North Korea's thinly veiled call for dialogue, reiterating that the communist state must immediately stop its provocative acts and rhetoric, and take "sincere" efforts toward denuclearization.

On Sunday, Pyongyang mentioned the need for "negotiations" for the first time since the U.N. Security Council (UNSC) adopted a new sanctions resolution early last month to punish the unruly regime for its nuclear test in January and long-range rocket launch in February.

N. Korea beefing up border control ahead of party congress: sources

SEOUL -- North Korea has strengthened its surveillance of its people in areas bordering China to crack down on those contacting defectors in South Korea ahead of its key party congress, sources said Tuesday.

The Ministry of State Security, the North's intelligence agency, has sent a letter expressing its strong allegiance to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, according to the sources familiar to North Korean affairs.

Exports of S. Korean cosmetics more than triple over 5 yrs

SEJONG -- Exports of South Korea-made cosmetics more than tripled over the past five years as the Korean Wave, or Hallyu, fueled robust demand from China and other Asian countries, customs data showed Tuesday.

Outbound shipments of makeup products reached US$2.45 billion in 2015, surging 53.1 percent from $1.56 billion a year earlier, according to the data by Korea Customs Service (KCS).

Demand for bank loans expected to shrink in Q2: poll

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- Demand for fresh bank loans by local companies and households is expected to dwindle in the second quarter, a survey showed Tuesday.

The overall index measuring demand for fresh bank loans came to 3 for the April-June period, down from 4 for the previous quarter, according to the Bank of Korea (BOK).

Overseas spending of S. Koreans reaches record high in 2015

SEOUL -- Overseas consumption by South Korean residents surged to a new high last year, central bank data showed Tuesday, mainly on a large increase in the number of people going abroad.

In 2015, the overseas consumption expenditures of South Koreans came to 26.27 trillion won (US$22.74 billion), according to preliminary data from the Bank of Korea (BOK).

S. Korea's national debt up 53.5 tln won in 2015

SEJONG -- South Korea's national debt rose by 53.5 trillion won (US$46.7 billion) in 2015 from a year earlier as the government managed an expansionary fiscal policy to pump-prime the sluggish economy, the finance ministry said Tuesday.

The national debt that covers the central government's general and special accounts and funds reached 556.5 trillion won last year, up from 503 trillion won a year earlier, according to the 2015 settlement of accounts endorsed by the Cabinet.

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