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Yonhap News Summary

All News 17:16 July 20, 2016

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

Survey shows signs of improving S. Korea-Japan relations

SEOUL -- Fewer South Koreans have a negative impression of Japan this year compared with last year, while the number of Japanese who think badly about South Korea also declined, a recent survey by private think tanks showed Wednesday, suggesting bilateral relations are improving after going through a rough patch in recent years caused by shared historical issues.

The survey, commissioned by the South Korean think tank East Asia Institute and Japan-based Genron NPO, was conducted from June through July on 1,010 South Koreans and 1,000 Japanese adults. It was the two groups' fourth annual joint poll.

(LEAD) Seoul stocks down for 2nd day on IMF outlook cut
(ATTN: ADDS bond yields at bottom)

SEOUL, July 20 (Yonhap) -- South Korean stocks edged down on Wednesday, sliding for a second consecutive session, as investor sentiment was hurt by the International Monetary Fund's downward revision of its economic outlook. The Korean won fell against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) fell 1.43 points, or 0.07 percent, to close at 2,015.46. Trade volume was light at 309 million shares worth 3.44 trillion won (US$3.01 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 425 to 357.

S. Korean workers earn 32.8 mln won on annual average: poll

SEOUL -- The average salary of South Korean workers stood at 32.8 million won (US$28,000) in 2015, up 1.5 percent from a year earlier, a survey showed Wednesday.

The median income, however, was 25 million won, far below the average salary level, according to the Federation of Korean Industries (FKI).

The number of those who earned 100 million won or more came to 390,000, or 2.7 percent of the total.

(LEAD) S. Korea faces challenge in reflecting its stance on N. Korea in ARF statement: source
(ATTN: ADDS more remarks and background info throughout)

SEOUL -- South Korea is expected to face challenges in reflecting its stance on North Korea and its nuclear ambitions in a chairman's statement to be issued at the end of the upcoming regional security meeting, given the chair country's close ties to the communist country, a government source said Wednesday.

Top diplomats from 27 Asia-Pacific countries and the European Union will meet in Vientiane, the capital of Laos, and hold a series of meetings led by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations over the weekend. South Korea's Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se is to attend the event.

Gov't pays compensation for Kaesong complex workers, firms

SEOUL -- The government said Wednesday that it has paid 5.6 billion won (US$4.91 million won) in initial compensation to South Korean employees who are suffering from the shutdown of the Kaesong industrial park in North Korea.

Ministry of Unification spokesman Jeong Joon-hee said in a news briefing that Seoul paid consolation money to 335 workers to support their basic livelihood.

S. Korea working to keep foreign financial firms from leaving

SEOUL -- South Korea's top financial regulator on Wednesday said it will step up efforts for "communication" with foreign banks and other financial services firms to help resolve their troubles in doing business here.

"It's worrisome that the branches of some foreign financial companies have withdrawn or scaled down their operations," said Jeong Eun-bo, vice chairman of the Financial Services Commission (FSC).

Hyundai Mobis sets up distribution center in Belgium

SEOUL -- Hyundai Mobis Co., the auto parts unit of Hyundai Motor Group, said Wednesday that it has set up a new distribution center in Belgium in the latest efforts to reduce lead time for its customers.

The 56,000 square-meter facility will also serve as a logistics hub for Britain, Germany, Spain, Italy, Sweden and Hungary, the top South Korean auto parts maker said.

Gov't condemns N. Korea's resumption of encrypted number broadcasting

SEOUL -- South Korea's government on Wednesday condemned North Korea's resumption of encrypted number broadcasting, a method used in the past to send orders to its spies operating in the country.

The Ministry of Unification expressed "deep regret" over the North's latest provocation. Pyongyang on Friday resumed the broadcasting after a 16-year-long hiatus following Seoul's decision a week earlier to deploy an advanced U.S. antimissile system in South Korea by the end of 2017.


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