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Yonhap News Summary

All News 17:28 June 01, 2016

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

S. Korean cities hope Ban's visit boosts tourism

GYEONGJU/ANDONG, South Korea -- South Korean cities showed a sign of expectation that more people would visit them following a high-profile visit by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon this week.

On Sunday, Ban toured the UNESCO-listed folk village of Hahoe in Andong, 268 kilometers southeast of Seoul.

Regional powers agree to keep using pressure to denuclearize N. Korea

TOKYO -- The chief nuclear envoys of South Korea, the United States and Japan agreed Wednesday to continue using pressure on the North Korean regime to force it to give up its nuclear weapons program.

Kim Hong-kyun, South Korea's special representative for Korean Peninsula Peace and Security Affairs, said the three sides reached the agreement during trilateral talks in Tokyo earlier in the day.

(LEAD) Top N. Korean official in Beijing in bid to normalize ties

BEIJING -- A motorcade of about 10 black sedans, led by a top North Korean official Ri Su-yong, headed to the Great Hall of the People on Wednesday for a possible meeting with senior Chinese leaders.

The motorcade was seen leaving the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse on Wednesday afternoon amid tight security, with diplomatic sources here saying Ri may meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Prosecutors confiscate hundreds of Volkswagen vehicles

SEOUL -- Prosecutors said Wednesday they have confiscated some 950 vehicles of the South Korean unit of the German carmaker Volkswagen, equipped with its new engine model, amid a probe into the company's emissions scandal.

The Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office said three of Audi Volkswagen Korea's models -- Audi A1, A3 and the popular Golf -- have been confiscated from its vehicle inspection center in Pyeongtaek, some 70 kilometers south of Seoul.

N.K. may link suspension of nuke test to peace treaty talks: report

SEOUL -- North Korea is likely to launch a charm offensive toward the United States by possibly calling on Washington to have talks over a peace treaty in exchange for the suspension of a nuclear test, a report showed Wednesday.

North Korea has called for talks over a peace treaty with the U.S. to formally end the 1950-53 Korean War, which was brought to a close with a truce. Washington has dismissed the North's demand, saying that denuclearization should be prioritized.

(LEAD) Seoul stocks almost flat ahead of key data release

SEOUL -- South Korean stocks closed little changed Wednesday as investors took to the sidelines waiting for a slew of economic data and events coming this week. The Korean won fell against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) fell 0.68 point, or 0.03 percent, to close at 1,982.72. Trade volume was moderate at 496 million shares worth 5.31 trillion won (US$4.45 billion), with gainers outpacing losers 447 to 363.

(LEAD) Sanctions aren't short-term game, multilateral approach matters: U.S. diplomat

SEOUL -- Sanctions are not a "short-term game" but a longer-term one that needs time and cooperation with other major countries to make them successful, the top U.S. diplomat in Seoul said Wednesday.

China is an important part in all of this, and that is why it is necessary to keep engaging with Beijing at "very senior levels," Mark Lippert, U.S. ambassador to South Korea, told a forum in Seoul.

(News Focus) Hyundai Merchant finds silver lining in dark clouds

SEOUL -- The odds of financially shaky Hyundai Merchant avoiding court receivership are growing with key preconditions set by its creditors for a creditor-led restructuring being solved gradually, industry sources said Wednesday.

Creditors of Hyundai Merchant, the country's No. 2 shipping line, have warned that they will seek receivership for Hyundai Merchant, if the shipper fails to meet three prerequisites -- a charter rate cut, debt recast approval from bondholders and an inclusion into a global shipping alliance.

N. Korea hails Trump's views about S. Korea's free ride on defense

SEOUL -- North Korea's propaganda outlet on Wednesday hailed Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump's claim that South Korea should pay more for the upkeep of American troops on its soil.

DPRK Today called Trump a "wise" politician, saying that if the United States withdraws its troops from the Korean Peninsula, the two Koreas will seek peace and reconciliation.

N. Korea's coal exports to China drop sharply affected by sanctions

SEOUL -- North Korea's coal exports to China dropped sharply, apparently affected by toughened sanctions on Pyongyang following its fourth nuclear and long-range missile tests earlier this year, a foreign ministry official said Wednesday.

The North exported US$72.27 million worth of coal to China in April, down from the $116.6 million a year earlier, according the official who cited Chinese government data.

Auto sales up 6.4 pct in May on tax cut, robust overseas demand

SEOUL -The sales of five automakers in South Korea rose 6.4 percent in May from a year earlier on the back of an extended tax cut on car purchases that drove up domestic sales, and a recovery in overseas demand, industry data showed Wednesday.

The combined sales of the five companies -- Hyundai Motor Co., Kia Motors Corp., GM Korea Co., Renault Samsung Motors Co., and Ssangyong Motor Co. -- came to 761,981 units in May, according to the data provided by each company.

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