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Yonhap News Summary

All News 17:25 February 03, 2017

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

(2nd LD) Mattis says U.S. will respond overwhelmingly if N. Korea uses nuclear weapons

SEOUL -- U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis on Friday reiterated Washington's security commitment to Seoul, saying that any nuclear attack by North Korea on the U.S. or its allies would receive an overwhelming response.

Mattis made the remarks during a press briefing ahead of a meeting with South Korean Defense Minister Han Min-koo in Seoul, with the policymaker striving to reassure the Asian ally unsettled by President Donald Trump's isolationist rhetoric.

China takes 43 retaliatory actions over S. Korea's THAAD deployment plan

SEOUL -- China has taken a total of 43 retaliatory actions against the South Korean entertainment sector and trade goods in reprisal for Seoul's plan to deploy the U.S.-made Terminal-High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system, a national think tank said Friday.

The number was tallied by the state-run Korea Institute for National Unification for the seven-month period following South Korea and the U.S.' official announcement on July 8 to deploy the defense system by the end of 2017.

Of the total retaliatory actions taken last year, 23 cases involved cultural areas, followed by economic transactions totaling 15 cases. The remaining 5 cases pertained to diplomatic, political and military matters between the two countries.

(3rd LD) Investigators fail to search presidential office over scandal

SEOUL -- Special investigators' attempt to raid the presidential office as part of an influence-peddling probe ended in failure Friday as the office denied them entry, citing security concerns.

The probe team said it would request the acting president to use his authority to allow the search of Cheong Wa Dae.

Some 20 investigators from Independent Counsel Park Young-soo's team visited the presidential compound in the morning to secure more data ahead of a face-to-face interrogation of President Park Geun-hye, which is likely to take place later this month.


Actively traded shares log big price hikes

SEOUL -- Prices of the 10 most heavily traded stocks in South Korea have soared more than 30 percent this year, reflecting strong investor appetite for issues that frequently change hands, a market tracker said Friday.

According to FnGuide, prices of the main bourse's top 10 stocks in terms of cumulative turnover ratio surged an average 30.5 percent over the past one-month period.

The turnover ratio, which measures how many times a listed stock is traded, is calculated by dividing a stock's trading volume during a given period with the number of listed shares. The higher the ratio, the more active its trading.

(LEAD) SK Innovation-2016 earnings
(LEAD) SK Innovation's 2016 net almost doubles on petrochemical biz, refining margin
(ATTN: ADDS more details in 5-7 paras, last para)

SEOUL -- SK Innovation Co., South Korea's top oil refiner, on Friday said its earnings nearly doubled last year from a year earlier, thanks to better-than-expected results from its petrochemical business and expanded refining margin.

Net profit stood at 1.72 trillion won (US$1.49 billion) last year, compared with a profit of 868 billion won a year earlier, the company said in a regulatory filing.

Operating income surged 63 percent on-year to reach a record 3.23 trillion won, while sales sank 18.3 percent to 39.52 trillion won over the cited period.

SK Innovation cited good performance at its petrochemical units and increased refining margin as the reason behind its improved bottom line.

Its operating income to sales ratio stood at some 8 percent last year, the highest since 2004.

Its non-refining business generated an operating income of roughly 2 trillion won last year. Its affiliates such as SK Global Chemical Co. posted good performance, SK Innovation said.

SK Innovation also said its refining unit logged an operating income of 1.9 trillion won.


(3rd LD) N.K. leader sacks chief of spy agency: Seoul
(ATTN: REWRITES lead; ADDS more details, photo caption throughout)

SEOUL -- North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has sacked the chief of the country's spy agency on suspected abuse of power and executed some of its officials following a surveillance conducted by the ruling party, South Korea's government said Friday.

Kim Won-hong, 72, was dismissed from the head of the Ministry of State Security in mid-January after the probe by the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) found the agency had abused its authority, according to Seoul's unification ministry. His military rank was also demoted to major general from full general, it said.

The ministry said he was fired over the suspicion that the intelligence agency committed wrongdoings including human rights violations, abuse of power and corruption.

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