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Yonhap News Summary

All News 11:50 January 04, 2017

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

(LEAD) S. Korea to make all-out diplomatic push to realize denuclearization of N. Korea

SEOUL -- South Korea will make an all-out diplomatic push this year to pressure North Korea to give up its nuclear and missile development programs, the foreign ministry said Wednesday.

The ministry, in particular, plans to shed more light on the dire human rights situation in the North and "diversify" ways of supplying outside information to the people in the reclusive country, a way deemed to be effective in making them more aware of the reality facing their daily lives.

China appears to have resumed imports of N. Korean coal: VOA

SEOUL -- China seems to have resumed imports of North Korean coal by lifting a temporary ban on them which it employed early last month, a U.S. broadcaster, monitored here, reported Wednesday.

On Dec. 11, China's Commerce Ministry announced that it would ban imports of North Korean coal through the end of that month to comply with the U.N. Security Council Resolution 2321 adopted on Nov. 30 to punish the North for its fifth nuclear test. Coal is the North's single largest export item, and China accounts for nearly 40 percent of the shipments.

S. Korea's current account surplus widens to US$8.99 bln in Nov.

SEOUL -- South Korea posted a current account surplus for the 57th straight month in November due to increased outbound shipments, central bank data showed Wednesday.

The current account surplus reached US$8.99 billion in November, compared with a $8.72 billion surplus a month earlier, according to the preliminary data from the Bank of Korea (BOK).

(LEAD) Opposition lawmakers head to China for talks on THAAD tension

SEOUL -- A group of seven South Korean opposition lawmakers on Wednesday embarked on a three-day trip to Beijing to discuss diplomatic tension between the two countries over Seoul's plan to deploy a U.S. missile shield.

The delegation from the main opposition Democratic Party is expected to voice concerns over a set of recent steps China has taken against South Korean businesses and entertainers in apparent retaliation.

(LEAD) S. Korea's finance minister vows frontloading to prop up economy

SEJONG -- South Korea's finance minister said Wednesday that the government will make all-out efforts to frontload its budget spending in the first quarter to pre-emptively cope with rising economic uncertainties at home and abroad.

"Facing strong headwinds inside and outside the country, the South Korean economy will likely lose recovery momentum," Finance Minister Yoo Il-ho said in a meeting on fiscal spending in Seoul. "The government will beef up fiscal intervention as a trigger for economic reinvigoration and a stepping stone for further development."

Mortgage growth slows in Dec. amid interest rate hike

SEOUL -- The growth of mortgage loans in South Korea markedly slowed last month amid indications of interest rate hikes and a downturn in the real estate market, data showed Wednesday.

Outstanding home-backed loans extended by six major banks here - KB Koomin, Shinhan, Woori, KEB Hana, NH and the Industrial Bank of Korea - totaled 380.8 trillion won (US$314 billion) in December.

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