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Yonhap News Summary

All News 13:30 February 07, 2017

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

(LEAD) S. Korean FM Yun, Tillerson affirm commitment to reinforcing bilateral alliance

SEOUL -- South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se and new U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson affirmed their countries' commitment to toughen the bilateral alliance under the Trump administration in their first phone conversation on Tuesday, the foreign ministry said.

The 25-minute talks early in the morning followed Tillerson's swearing-in a week ago and came as the allies scrambled to brush aside President Donald Trump's berating remarks on South Korea's defense cost sharing during the campaign.

(News Focus) One year after shutdown, Kaesong firms continue to struggle for survival

SEOUL -- It will have been a year since they were forced to leave their workplace in North Korea's border town of Kaesong this week, but nearly half of the firms that were once celebrated as symbols of reconciliation with the communist North are now struggling just to stay alive.

The 124 South Korean firms were told by their own government to leave the joint industrial complex a year ago Friday.

Fresh foot-and-mouth disease case confirmed in S. Korea

SEJONG -- A second foot-and-mouth disease infection was confirmed at a cow farm in South Korea just a day after the first outbreak was reported, the agriculture ministry said Tuesday, raising concerns over a nationwide spread of the animal epidemic.

Nearly 50 cows at the farm in the southwestern region of North Jeolla Province tested positive for the contagious virus, with all infected livestock culled, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.

Acting president warns of N.K. 'strategic' provocations

SEOUL -- South Korea's Acting President and Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn on Tuesday warned of North Korea's possible strategic provocations ahead of the birthday of its late former leader next week, stressing the need for Seoul to maintain strong security cooperation with its ally Washington.

During a Cabinet meeting, Hwang also noted that U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis' visit to Seoul last week reaffirmed the robust bilateral alliance and sent a "strong" warning to an increasingly provocative Pyongyang.

6 Korean films to be screened at Berlin fest

SEOUL -- Six Korean films, including award-winning director Hong Sang-soo's latest movie, will be screened at the Berlin International Film Festival set to kick off this week.

Hong's "On the Beach at Night Alone" will be featured in the main competition category, while five others will be shown in noncompetition sections.

Output in mining, manufacturing sectors remain in deep slump

SEJONG -- South Korea's mining, manufacturing, gas and electricity industries saw their production remain in a deep slump in recent months, with their business sentiment falling sharply, government data showed Tuesday.

According to the data compiled by Statistics Korea, output of 43 industrial sectors out of 80 fell in December from a month earlier, while that of 37 companies rose.

S. Korean shipyards lead in Jan. orders: data

SEOUL -- South Korean shipbuilders bagged more than half of new orders placed around the globe last month, relegating China to second place, industry data showed on Tuesday.

According to the data compiled by global research firm Clarkson Research Institute, Korean shipyards clinched new orders worth 300,000 compensated gross tons (CGTs) last month to build seven ships, which is 55.5 percent of total new orders placed globally.

NPS set to buy 10 tln won of stocks this year

SEOUL -- South Korea's state pension fund plans to invest nearly 10 trillion won (US$8.8 billion) in top-cap Samsung Electronics and other domestic stocks this year, a senior official said Tuesday, sparking hopes it could help boost the local stock market.

The planned investment would raise stock investments by the National Pension Service (NPS), the country's leading institutional investor, to approximately 110 trillion won, or some 20 percent of its total assets tallied at 545 trillion won as of end-November last year.

U.S., Japan successfully tests jointly developed interceptor missile

WASHINGTON -- The United States and Japan have successfully carried out a missile interception test with a jointly developed interceptor missile, the U.S. Missile Defense Agency said.

The test took place off Hawaii early Saturday (Eastern Time), with the Aegis-equipped destroyer USS John Paul Jones shooting down a medium-range ballistic missile target with the SM-3 Block IIA interceptor missile, the agency said in a statement.

Gallucci says he advised N. Korea not to greet new U.S. president with nuclear, missile tests

WASHINGTON -- A former chief U.S. nuclear negotiator with North Korea said he advised diplomats from Pyongyang to refrain from greeting a new U.S. administration with nuclear or missile tests when he met with them in Malaysia in October.

Robert Gallucci, who negotiated a now-defunct 1994 nuclear freeze deal with the North, held meetings in Kuala Lumpur on Oct. 21-22 with senior diplomats from North Korea, including Vice Foreign Minister Han Song-ryol and Deputy U.N. Ambassador Jang Il-hun.

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