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Yonhap News Summary

All News 13:30 July 22, 2016

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

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(LEAD) U.S. institute claims discovery of former secret N. Korean uranium facility

WASHINGTON -- A U.S. research institute claimed Thursday that it has located a suspected secret nuclear facility that North Korea used in the early stages of its uranium enrichment program.

"Recent information suggests that an early centrifuge research and development (R&D) facility was located at the Panghyon Aircraft Plant, at or near the Panghyon Air Base, which is located about 45 kilometers west of the Yongbyon nuclear site," the Institute for Science and International Studies said in a report.

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Volkswagen Korea to halt sales of cars in emissions scandal

SEOUL -- German carmaker Volkswagen has decided to voluntarily suspend sales of its vehicle models implicated in an emissions scandal in South Korea, market sources said Friday.

In a recent letter to local dealers, Audi Volkswagen Korea, the South Korean unit of the German carmaker, said it will stop delivering 79 models of 34 vehicle types starting next week.

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U.S. Forces Korea says PAC-3 unit temporarily brought from Japan for drills

SEOUL -- The U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) on Friday said a Patriot PAC-3 battery was temporarily relocated from Japan for a U.S.-Korea joint military drill under way in the country amid escalating saber-rattling by North Korea.

A PAC-3 unit arrived in Busan, South Korea's No. 1 seaport, on July 13 and is currently being used in a drill, in which South Korean forces are participating, in Gunsan, 274 kilometers south of Seoul, according to the United States Eighth Army.

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China voices opposition to THAAD deployment in report on NK sanctions

SEOUL -- China has expressed its opposition to the move by South Korea and the United States to place an advanced missile defense system, suggesting that it could exacerbate tensions on the Korean Peninsula, a report submitted by Beijing to the U.N. Security Council (UNSC) showed Friday.

Earlier this month, Seoul and Washington said they have officially decided to deploy a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) battery in the Asian nation to cope with the ever-growing nuclear and missile threats from North Korea. Beijing has objected to the move, saying that it could undermine its strategic security interests.

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Activist group sends anti-Pyongyang leaflets

GIMPO -- A civic group comprised of North Korean defectors on Friday said it sent anti-Pyongyang leaflets via balloons across the inter-Korean border earlier this week, amid escalating military tensions in the Korean Peninsula.

The Fighters for Free North Korea said it sent some 300,000 leaflets from Gimpo, just west of Seoul, on Thursday, criticizing the North's test-firing of the Musudan intermediate-range ballistic missile and the launch of short-rage Scuds. It said 10 members of the U.S.-based civic group Human Rights Foundation (HRF) also took part in the launch.

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Shipbuilders' order backlog hits 12-year low

SEOUL -- Order backlog held by South Korean shipyards fell to the lowest level in 12 years in June amid a protracted slump in the global shipbuilding sector, industry data showed Friday.

According to the data compiled by global research firm Clarkson Research Services, the shipbuilding order backlog held by Hyundai Heavy Industries Co. and its other local rivals stood at 25.1 million compensated gross tons (CGTs) as of end-June, the lowest since January 2004, when the comparable figure was 24.2 million CGTs.

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N. Korea's economy shrank 1.1 pct in 2015: BOK

SEOUL -- North Korea's economy is estimated to have contracted 1.1 percent last year amid negative growth in most industries, South Korea's central bank announced Friday.

The Bank of Korea (BOK) has issued an annual report on the estimated gross domestic product (GDP) of one of the world's most secretive nations.
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