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Yonhap News Summary

All News 13:30 July 19, 2016

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

Top Trump adviser blasts Korea FTA as 'mistake'

WASHINGTON -- The top foreign policy adviser to Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump blasted the free trade pact with South Korea again on Monday, calling it a "mistake" that more than doubled American trade deficits with the Asian country.

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), who oversees Trump's foreign policy team, has expressed deeply negative views of free trade deals, often using the pact with South Korea as an example to make the case the administration of President Barack Obama duped the country into supporting deals that turned out to be bad for the U.S.

Producer prices drop in June

SEOUL -- South Korea's producer prices dropped slightly from a year earlier in June on a large cut in prices of coal and petroleum products, central bank data showed Tuesday.

The producer price index for June came to 99.01, down 2.7 percent from the same month last year, according to preliminary data from the Bank of Korea (BOK).

(2nd LEAD) N. Korea fires off 3 ballistic missiles: JCS

SEOUL -- North Korea fired off three ballistic missiles Tuesday morning following South Korea's recent decision to deploy an advanced U.S. anti-missile system in the country, South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said.

The latest launch is thought to be part of Pyongyang's response to the July 8 decision by Seoul and Washington to deploy the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system here by the end of 2017 to deal with the ever-growing nuclear and missile threats from the North.

Chairman of CJ Group, in custody for tax evasion, drops reappeal

SEOUL -- The ailing chairman of South Korea's CJ Group, Lee Jay-hyun, who is now in custody on charges of embezzlement and tax evasion, dropped the reappeal on Tuesday, the group said.

The decision by Lee, who was sentenced to two and a half years in prison, raised the possibility that he could be included into next month's planned special pardon by President Park Geun-hye.

S. Korean shares down in late morning trading

SEOUL -- South Korean shares traded lower late Tuesday morning, on losses in automakers and some tech stocks.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) shed 9.1 points, or 0.45 percent, to 2,012.01 as of 11:20 a.m.

8-term Saenuri lawmaker not to join leadership race

SEOUL -- Rep. Suh Chung-won, an eight-term lawmaker of the ruling Saenuri Party who has been supportive of President Park Geun-hye, said Tuesday he will not compete in the party's leadership race.

Political pundits have been watching closely to see if Suh will compete in the race for the chairmanship of party slated for August amid the on-going factional rivalry among lawmakers.

S. Korea to strengthen anti-missile system in Seoul metropolitan area

SEOUL -- South Korea will beef up its anti-missile system in the Seoul metropolitan areas by 2018 to counter possible missile attacks from North Korea, its defense ministry said Tuesday.

The Ministry of National Defense is in the process of upgrading the PAC-2 Patriot anti-missile system at a military base in Gangwon Province into the more effective PAC-3 Patriot system which employs "hit-to-kill" technology that has no warhead, a ministry official said.

BOK chief warns of fallout from monetary expansion

SEOUL -- The head of South Korea's central bank emphasized the need Tuesday for an accommodative monetary policy to cope with a drawn-out economic slump but cautioned against its potential adverse impact causing financial instability.

"It's necessary to implement monetary policy in a direction that supports the recovery of a growth trend and also to pay keen heed to risks to financial stability," Bank of Korea (BOK) Gov. Lee Ju-yeol said in an international forum here.

Fencer named S. Korean flag bearer at Rio Olympics

SEOUL -- South Korean fencer Gu Bon-gil has been named South Korea's flag bearer at the opening ceremony for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, the Korean Olympic Committee (KOC) announced Tuesday.

The KOC said Gu, who is a member of the gold medal-winning men's sabre team at the 2012 London Games, will carry the national flag at the opening ceremony for the 31st Summer Games which will be staged at Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Aug. 5.

U.S. confirms N.K. missile launches, identifies one as Rodong missile

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Strategic Command on Monday confirmed North Korea's launch of three ballistic missiles, saying two of them were short-range Scud missiles and the third was a Rodong intermediate-range missile.

"U.S. Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM) systems detected and tracked what we assess were three North Korean missile launches," the command said in a statement. "The near back-to-back launch of two presumed Scud tactical ballistic missiles, followed by the presumed launch of a No Dong (Rodong) intermediate-range ballistic missile approximately an hour later, occurred near Hwangju."

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