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Yonhap News Summary

All News 17:05 April 17, 2017

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

S. Korea, U.S., Japan to discuss N. Korea in trilateral talks

SEOUL -- Senior defense officials from South Korea, the United States and Japan will have face-to-face talks on North Korea's saber-rattling later this week, a Seoul ministry announced Monday.

The regional powers plan to hold the Defense Trilateral Talks (DTT) in Tokyo on Wednesday, the ninth session of the forum launched in 2008, according to the Ministry of National Defense.

Ex-President Park Geun-hye indicted in corruption probe

SEOUL -- South Korea's former President Park Geun-hye was indicted Monday on multiple charges, including bribery, as prosecutors wrapped up their probe into the influence-peddling scandal that brought her down last month.

The former president is accused of abuse of power, coercion, bribery and leaking government secrets, prosecutors said. She was taken into custody on March 31.

Ahn gives up parliamentary seat ahead of presidential election

SEOUL -- Presidential candidate Ahn Cheol-soo gave up his parliamentary seat Monday to follow through on his promise to give his all to win the upcoming election, an official said.

Ahn, a co-founder and former leader of the center-left People's Party, submitted his resignation form to the National Assembly earlier in the day as the official campaign for the May 9 election kicked off.

Pence warns against N. Korea testing Trump's resolve

SEOUL -- U.S. Vice President Mike Pence on Monday warned North Korea against testing America's mettle with its saber-rattling, saying Washington will defeat any use of military force with an "overwhelming and effective" response.

During a press conference with South Korea's Acting President and Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn, Pence also reassured South Korea that Washington's security commitment to its Asian ally is "ironclad and immutable."

Seoul says no certainty over N.K. spy chief's reinstatement

SEOUL -- South Korea's unification ministry said Monday that it is not certain whether Kim Won-hong, a former North Korean spy chief, may have been reinstated after being dismissed early this year over abuse of authority.

The government said in February that Kim, the Minister of State Security, was fired in mid-January following a probe by the ruling party into the spy agency.

S. Korea national territory increases on development projects

SEOUL -- South Korea's national territory increased by 44 square kilometers last year helped by various development and reclamation projects, the transport ministry said Monday.

The country's overall territory came to 100,339 square kilometers at the end of 2016, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transportation said in a statement.

Gov't to expand women's presence in high-level positions

SEOUL -- South Korea plans to gradually increase women's representation in senior positions in government and public institutions, officials said Monday.

The Ministry of Gender Equality and Family said that the government will raise the ratio of female civil servants ranked at grade 4 or higher to 15 percent by the end of this year.

(LEAD) N.K. sets up special operation forces amid military tensions

SEOUL -- North Korea has formed special operation forces for the first time in an apparent show of military strength, an analysis on North Korea's media reports showed Monday, amid tensions over its nuclear and missile program.

The country unveiled the existence of the Korean People's Army (KPA) special forces for the first time at a military parade Saturday to mark the 105th birthday of late founder Kim Il-sung, according to an analysis on the reports by Yonhap News Agency.

Japan calls on next S. Korean gov't to implement deal on 'comfort women'

TOKYO -- Japan on Monday urged the next South Korean government implement a landmark 2015 deal to resolve the long-running rift over Japan's wartime sexual enslavement of Korean women as the official campaign period for South Korea's upcoming presidential election began the same day.

"The two countries promised to implement the December 2015 agreement that was highly esteemed in the international community regardless of the internal affairs (in South Korea)," Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, the top government spokesman, told a press conference.

(LEAD) Ministry: no change in THAAD deployment schedule

SEOUL -- South Korea's defense ministry affirmed Monday that there is no change in its plan to deploy an advanced U.S. missile defense system here as early as possible.

It was responding to speculation that South Korea and the U.S. may adjust the pace of bringing a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) battery to the peninsula for political reasons, with South Koreans set to pick their new president on May 9.

Exports by 'new growth' biz rise 5 pct annually since 2012: report

SEOUL -- South Korean exports by "new growth" businesses rose an average of 5 percent annually in the past four years, a local trade report said Monday.

Exports by companies whose businesses range from robotics, semiconductors, next-generation displays and bio health to aerospace jumped to US$76.7 billion in 2016 from $63.2 billion in 2012, the Korea International Trade Association (KITA) said in a recent report.

KDB-led creditors to proceed with Kumho Tire sale as scheduled

SEOUL -- The state-run Korea Development Bank (KDB) said Monday that it will sell a local tiremaker to a Chinese firm unless the chief of Kumho Asiana Group exercises his right to buy back the logistics conglomerate's tiremaking affiliate currently under creditors' control.

Park Sam-koo, chairman of Kumho Asiana Group, has urged the KDB, the main creditor of Kumho Tire Co., to allow him to form a consortium for the potential takeover.

S. Korea to nurture 'software-oriented' universities

SEOUL -- South Korea will help more local universities provide quality education in the software sector as part of its drive to develop the industry and nurture more talent, the science minister said Monday.

The Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning picked eight schools in 2015, six in 2016 and six in 2017 as "software-oriented universities" and invested nearly 2 billion won ($1.75 million) in them annually.

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