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Yonhap News Summary

All News 13:30 December 01, 2017

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

(3rd LD) Moon, Trump agree to bring N. Korea to dialogue table thru sanctions, pressure

SEOUL -- President Moon Jae-in and U.S. President Donald Trump agreed to continue strong pressure and sanctions against North Korea to bring the regime back to negotiations as they held their second phone talks in two days after Pyongyang's latest long-range missile test, Cheong Wa Dae said.

"The two leaders agreed on the need to maintain their basic stance of putting strong sanctions and pressure on the North until North Korea voluntarily gives up developing nukes and missiles and comes out for dialogue," Cheong Wa Dae said.

S. Korea, U.S. not considering any military measures against N. Korea: Cheong Wa Dae

SEOUL -- South Korea and the United States are not considering any military options, including a naval blockade, against North Korea, an official from South Korea's presidential office Cheong Wa Dae said Friday.

The remarks came hours after President Moon Jae-in and U.S. President Donald Trump held their second telephone conversation in just two days to discuss ways to rein in North Korea's evolving missile technologies.

(LEAD) S. Korean economy grows 1.5 pct on-quarter in Q3: BOK

SEOUL -- South Korea's economy grew at the fastest pace in nearly seven years in the third quarter from three months earlier on brisk manufacturing and construction, central bank data showed Friday.

The country's gross domestic product (GDP) expanded 1.5 percent in the July-September period from the previous quarter, up 0.1 percentage point from earlier estimates, according to the preliminary data from the Bank of Korea (BOK).

Mattis vows to continue diplomatic efforts on N. Korea

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis vowed Thursday to continue diplomatic efforts on North Korea after tensions spiked over its latest ballistic missile launch.

Speaking to reporters ahead of a meeting with the Libyan prime minister, Mattis said he was "not willing" to acknowledge that diplomacy has failed to reverse the North's nuclear and missile ambitions.

President Moon to meet JSA troops over defection of N. Korean soldier

SEOUL -- President Moon Jae-in was set to meet with a group of South Korean and U.S. soldiers guarding the border with North Korea to commend them for the way they handled the recent defection of a North Korean soldier through the heavily fortified border, the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae said.

The meeting was set to start at Cheong Wa Dae at 2 p.m., involving several South Korean and U.S. forces stationed at the Joint Security Area. JSA, also known as Panmunjom, is one of the very few places where South and North Korean troops stand face to face without a fence dividing them.

(LEAD) Households need to adjust to higher interest rates: BOK chief

SEOUL -- South Korea's central bank chief Friday said local households need to adjust themselves to higher interest trends, following the first rate hike in more than six years.

The Bank of Korea (BOK) raised the base rate by a quarter percentage point to 1.5 percent Thursday for the first time since June 2011, citing clear signs of economic recovery and low inflation pressure.

S. Korea does not see N.K. as crossing 'red line' with new ICBM test

SEOUL -- South Korea's unification ministry said Friday that it does not regard North Korea as crossing a "red line" with its latest test of a long-range missile due to doubts about its capability.

North Korea fired a new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) on Wednesday, which it claims is capable of putting the whole mainland of the U.S. within its range. The North declared that it had completed its "state nuclear force."

N. Korea misses figure skating deadline for PyeongChang 2018: report

SEOUL -- North Korea has missed the deadline to enter its figure skating pairs team for next year's Winter Olympics in South Korea, a report claimed Friday.

NBC Sports said North Korea's Olympic committee missed an Oct. 30 deadline to confirm whether it would send its qualified figure skating pairs duo, Ryom Tae-ok and Kim Ju-ik, to the PyeongChang Winter Olympics next February.

(LEAD) S. Korea defense ministry: N. Korea's new ICBM flight test deemed successful

SEOUL -- South Korea's defense ministry on Friday characterized North Korea's projectile, fired earlier this week, as a new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that can fly more than 13,000 kilometers.

In a report to the National Assembly, the ministry said the North is believed to have conducted a successful missile test on Wednesday.

Ruling party pleads for passage of 2018 budget bill

SEOUL -- The ruling Democratic Party on Friday renewed a plea for opposition parties' cooperation in passing the government's 2018 spending plan with the legal deadline for the budget approval just one day away.

Rep. Woo Won-shik, its floor leader, reiterated that the budget plan worth 429 trillion won (US$395 billion) is vital for enhancing people's livelihoods and spurring growth, amid a deadlock over several sticking points, including a proposal for job creation.

(LEAD) S. Korea's exports up 9.6 pct in Nov. on memory chips

SEJONG -- South Korea's exports rose 9.6 percent in November from a year earlier to mark the 13th consecutive monthly gain, fueled by strong demand for memory chips and machinery, government data showed Friday.

Outbound shipments came to US$49.67 billion for November, up from $45.3 billion a year earlier, according to data compiled by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy and the Korea Customs Service.

(LEAD) Gov't says liquefaction in quake-stricken Pohang not worrisome

SEOUL -- The government said Friday that liquefaction in the earthquake-stricken southeastern city of Pohang is "not at a worrisome level," amid growing concerns about its impact on the safety of local residents.

Announcing the analysis of soil in five locations in Pohang, the Ministry of Interior and Safety said that the liquefaction was caused by the Nov. 15 earthquake, and that only one place showed "high-level" liquefaction.

Agricultural industry opposed to more market opening to U.S.

SEOUL -- South Korean farmers and stockbreeders on Friday opposed any additional market opening when South Korea renegotiates its free trade agreement (FTA) with the United States, calling for the government to prepare measures to protect the local industry.

In a second round of public hearings hosted by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, market insiders and researchers addressed concerns on the possible impact from amendments to the five-year-old deal, called the KORUS FTA, which comes in response to growing pressure from Washington.


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