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Yonhap News Summary

All News 17:00 July 06, 2017

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

(LEAD) Seoul stocks almost flat ahead of Samsung's earnings guidance
(ATTN: CORRECTS figures in para 2; ADDS bond yields at bottom)

SEOUL -- South Korean stocks finished almost flat Thursday, as investors took to the sidelines ahead of Samsung Electronics Co.'s earnings guidance for the second quarter and on a sharp fall in global oil prices, analysts said. The Korean won fell against the U.S. dollar.

After a choppy session, the benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) edged down 0.54 point, or 0.02 percent, to close at 2,387.81.

Trade volume was moderate at 298 million shares worth 4.69 trillion won (US$4.05 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 423 to 379.

N. Korea to mark successful ICBM test-fire with fireworks

SEOUL -- North Korea said it will commemorate its first test of an intercontinental ballistic missile with fireworks in Pyongyang late on Thursday.

"Fireworks will go off near Juche Tower along the Taedong River in the DPRK's revolutionary capital of Pyongyang on the night of July 6 to celebrate the success of a Hwasong-14 ICBM test-fire, which is a big historical occasion and an epochal incident," said the North's Korea Central Broadcasting Station, monitored here. DPRK refers to the country's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

The North held the same event in February when it succeeded in launching a long-range missile, although it had usually held such events on the birthdays of its leaders before the incumbent Kim Jong-un regime

(2nd LD) Moon says N.K. missile "almost close" to ICBM
(ATTN: RECASTS headline, lead; ADDS more info in para 11)

SEOUL -- South Korea's President Moon Jae-in has said North Korea's new missile fired this week appears "almost close" to an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), voicing concerns that its rocket development was "much faster than expected."

During a dinner meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday (Berlin time), Moon also said Pyongyang's escalatory provocations call for stronger sanctions, but pressure must be applied to bring it to the negotiating table, not to undermine peace.

"The current level of the North's nuclear and missile programs is a problem, but what is more troubling is their development is proceeding much faster than expected," Moon was quoted by his spokesman as saying during the Berlin talks before the Group of 20 summit.

(LEAD) 5 N. Koreans want to defect to S. Korea: Seoul
(ATTN: ADDS more details in para 5)

SEOUL -- Five North Koreans who crossed the de facto maritime border on a boat last week have expressed their wishes to defect to South Korea, a government official said Thursday.

The small boat carrying four men and one woman was found near the Northern Limit Line (NLL) in waters off the east coast on July 1.

"An investigation is under way. They are believed to have crossed it for the purpose of defection," said an official at Seoul's unification ministry.

The ministry said that an unidentified number of them are family members but declined to give details.

They are known to have come from Pyongyang, according to government sources. It is unusual that residents of the North's capital defect to the South on a vessel.


(2nd LD) S. Korea's military holds precision-strike drills
(ATTN: UPDATES with S. Korea-U.S. Marine training in paras 6-9; ADDS photo)

SEOUL -- In yet another show of force against North Korea, South Korea's Navy and Air Force conducted joint live-fire drills in the East Sea on Thursday, officials said.

The exercise involved the 3,200-ton Yang Manchun destroyer, the 2,500-ton Chungbuk frigate, 13 other warships, the P-3C Orion maritime surveillance aircraft and Lynx multi-role planes, as well as FA-5, F-4E and KF-16 tactical fighter jets.

They launched various types of guided missiles, including the Harpoon, Haeseong-I and AGM-65 Maverick, against an enemy's simulated maritime attack, according to the officials.

Seoul official calls for Asian transition to low-carbon economy

SEOUL -- A senior diplomat on Thursday outlined South Korea's commitment to environment-friendly energy policy, including plans to reduce its dependency on coal and nuclear power plants, and sharply increase the use of renewable energy sources.

During a energy policy forum, Vice Foreign Minister Cho Hyun called on Asian nations to shift to a low-carbon economy, which would provide a new growth engine.

"The transition from traditional fossil fuels to clean energy is indeed not easy. The transition is in fact burdensome given the initial costs of investment," Cho said in his opening speech to the Korea-Asia Energy Cooperation Seminar in Seoul.

GM Korea workers prepare to strike amid net losses

SEOUL -- Unionized workers at GM Korea Co., the South Korean unit of General Motors Co., said they will vote on whether to go on strike to press contract demands, corporate sources said Thursday as the company struggles with three straight years of losses.

The carmaker's 15,000-strong union arranged a walkout if ongoing negotiations with management break down.

"GM Korea workers will cast a vote by 2 p.m. Friday, and the results will be available at around 3:30 p.m.," the carmaker's union spokesman Dang Sung-geun told Yonhap News Agency by phone.

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