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Yonhap News Summary

All Headlines 14:30 December 13, 2017

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

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(News Focus) Tillerson's remarks might signal change in U.S. policy on N.K.

SEOUL -- U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's remarks about his willingness to talk with North Korea "without preconditions" might signal a marked change in Washington's posture in dealing with Pyongyang and raise the "window of opportunity" for easing tensions surrounding its nuclear and missile programs, experts said Wednesday.

It still remains to be seen whether his remarks are the official stance of the Donald Trump administration and also how the North will respond, they said. Some voiced concerns that things could get much worse than now should Pyongyang go ahead with its provocative behavior.

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(LEAD) Parliamentary committee fails to pass bill on probing crackdown on Gwangju uprising

SEOUL -- A parliamentary committee failed Wednesday to pass two special bills on probing a bloody military crackdown on the 1980 pro-democracy movement in Gwangju and a series of deadly army accidents over the past decades.

The failure came as the main opposition Liberty Korea Party (LKP) insisted that enacting new laws -- rather than revising existing ones -- must first go through due procedures, such as holding public hearings in accordance with the law governing the legislation process.

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S. Korean leader vows efforts to normalize ties, boost cooperation with China

BEIJING -- South Korean President Moon Jae-in vowed efforts to normalize his country's relationship with China on Wednesday, while calling on the countries to further enhance their bilateral cooperation on political and security issues.

"Over the past 25 years, the South Korea-China relations have achieved an extraordinary development in the economic sector, but their relations in the political and security sectors fell short of such development," the president said while meeting with some 400 South Korean residents here in Beijing. Moon arrived in China earlier in the day on a four-day state visit that will also take him to the southwestern city of Chongqing. He is set to hold a bilateral summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday.

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Growth pace of household lending slows down in Nov.

SEOUL -- South Korea's household lending by banks slowed down slightly last month amid the government's toughened financial measures to cool down the real estate market, central bank data showed Wednesday.

Outstanding household loans from lenders came to 762.7 trillion won (US$698.4 billion) as of the end of November, according to the data by the Bank of Korea (BOK). This marks a 6.6 trillion-won increase from a month earlier, down from a 6.9 trillion-won rise in October

Mortgages climbed 3 trillion won on-month to 567.3 trillion won in November due to a steady rise in home transactions.

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Asian countries agree on capital increase for regional credit guarantee fund

SEOUL -- South Korea, China, Japan and member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations have agreed to jack up the capital base of a regional credit guarantee fund, Seoul's finance ministry said Wednesday.

According to the ministry, the countries agreed to raise the capital base of the Credit Guarantee and Investment Facility (CGIF) by US$500 million, as the fund's current capital base of $700 million has almost been depleted.

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Starbucks Korea to open its largest store in Seoul

SEOUL -- Starbucks Coffee Korea Co. said Wednesday it will open its largest store in central Seoul next week amid its growing popularity among local consumers.

The 1,097-square-meter store at Jongno Tower, set to open on Dec. 20, will have about 100 coffee and tea items on the menu -- 30 percent more than the options provided at its other chains -- along with some 60 bakery products, according to the local unit of the U.S. coffee giant.

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Samsung's digital radiography system wins FDA approval

SEOUL -- Samsung Electronics Co. said Wednesday its digital radiography system, which significantly reduces radiation exposure, won approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Citing research conducted by Chung-Ang University Hospital, the South Korean company said the Digital X-ray GC85A is capable of diagnosing patients while cutting radiation exposure by half compared to previous methods.

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(Yonhap Feature) Korean cinema: Where are all the melodramas?

SEOUL -- If there's one category of film that Korean cinemagoers loved in the late '90s and early 2000s, it's melodramas.

A number of well-made domestic films, such as "The Contact" (1997), "The Letter" (1997), "Christmas in August" (1998), "Ditto" (2000), "The Classic" (2003) and "A Moment To Remember" (2004), dominated the Korean film market at that time.

This trend seemed to remain strong in the early 2010s with the release of two box office sensations -- "Architecture 101" (2012) and "A Werewolf Boy" (2012).

But that isn't the case in recent years, with many romance films failing to score big at the box office.

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Fed forecast to hike rates four times in 2018

SEOUL -- A growing number of market experts are forecasting the U.S. central bank will raise its key interest rate four times in 2018 on an economic recovery and a tax overhaul, industry sources said Wednesday.

Global investment bank Goldman Sachs has recently projected the U.S. Federal Reserve Board to jack up the federal funds rate four times in the coming year, with JP Morgan and Jefferies making the same forecast, according to the sources.
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