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Yonhap News Summary

All News 17:21 July 18, 2016

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

(LEAD) Seoul says Pyongyang is ready for nuke test any time

SEOUL -- South Korea's Ministry of Unification said Monday that North Korea could conduct its fifth nuclear test whenever it wants, amid growing speculations that the reclusive country may be planning another detonation following increased activity detected at its underground nuclear site.

"North Korea seems to be fully prepared to carry out a nuclear test at any time (when the order is given by its leader Kim Jong-un). South Korea is closely monitoring every move at the North's test site in close cooperation with the United States," unification ministry spokesman Jeong Joon-hee said at a regular press briefing.

(LEAD) PyeongChang launches nat'l tour for Olympic mascots

SEOUL -- The organizers of the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics on Monday launched a nationwide tour for the event mascots in hopes they will help further drive up interest in the country's first Winter Games.

The PyeongChang Organizing Committee for the 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (POCOG) kicked off the national promotion tour of its mascots Soohorang, a white tiger, and Bandabi, an Asiatic black bear, in a ceremony at Hoenggye Elementary School in the host city of PyeongChang some 180 kilometers east of Seoul in Gangwon Province.

U.S. lawmakers voice bipartisan support for cooperation between Seoul and Washington

SEOUL -- A delegation of U.S. lawmakers visiting Seoul on Monday voiced their Congress' bipartisan support for cooperation with South Korea in diverse areas including diplomacy and military affairs, the foreign ministry said.

The delegation consisting of five lawmakers from the Senate and the House of Representatives held a breakfast meeting with South Korea's Vice Foreign Minister Lim Sung-nam on Monday, according to the ministry. They all came from the Democratic Party.

(Yonhap Interview) Hancom aims to fight U.S. giant Microsoft: CEO

SEOUL -- Microsoft Inc. currently leads the global software market, but South Korean software maker Hancom Inc. aims to fight neck-and-neck with the U.S. giant in the near future on the back of strong presence in the local market and its push to diversify its business portfolio, its CEO said Monday.

Hancom, founded in 1990 by industry mogul Lee Chan-jin as a venture company, is well-known among South Koreans with its mainstay word processing computer software created for the Korean language.

(LEAD) Seoul stocks inch up on tech gains

SEOUL -- South Korean stocks rose slightly Monday as Samsung Electronics and other tech stocks continued to advance, offsetting a decline in automakers and other market heavyweights. The Korean won fell against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 3.85 points, or 0.19 percent, to close at 2,021.11. Trade volume was moderate at 376 million shares worth 3.49 trillion won (US$3.07 billion), with gainers outnumbering losers 443 to 355.

China shows no signs of trade retaliation: trade ministry

SEJONG -- South Korea has detected no signs of China's retaliatory movement in trade following Seoul's decision to deploy an advanced U.S. missile defense system, the trade ministry here said Monday.

Seoul and Washington have decided to place the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) on South Korean soil by 2017, saying that the deployment is aimed at countering North Korea's growing nuclear and missile threats.

Justice minister apologizes over prosecutor's scandal

SEOUL -- South Korea's justice minister on Monday apologized over the scandal that one of the country's senior prosecutors took bribes from a leading online game maker and used the money to make stock investments.

"We will accept all criticism, and make various efforts to build up public trust in the prosecutors' office," Justice Minister Kim Hyun-woong said, adding he will tighten control over prosecutors to prevent similar cases breaking out in the future.

N. Korea reserves hotel in Laos for its ARF delegation: source

SEOUL -- North Korea was confirmed to have made a reservation at a hotel in Laos where its delegation will stay to attend an upcoming regional security forum, a government source said Monday.

Regional powers and a group of Southeast Asian nations are to gather in Vientiane from later this week to hold a series of meetings during the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), a rare international event to which the reclusive North sends a delegation.

Park puts forward direction of S. Korea-Mongolia economic cooperation

ULAANBAATAR -- President Park Geun-hye on Monday put forward her vision of bilateral economic cooperation between South Korea and Mongolia, stressing the two countries should capitalize on their "complementary economic structure" to pursue co-prosperity.

During a South Korea-Mongolia business forum in Ulaanbaatar, Park underscored the need for the two nations to champion the "externally-oriented" economic policy to expand mutual trade, and bolster cooperation in infrastructure development and new industrial sectors such as renewable energy and telemedicine.

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