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Yonhap News Summary

All News 13:30 December 29, 2017

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

(New Year Special) Local polls, constitutional revision to dominate S. Korean politics in 2018

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- South Korean politics face a rough ride yet again in 2018, as rival parties gird for high-stakes local elections, with the divisive issue of a constitutional revision likely to put them on a collision course, analysts said Friday.

The political landscape is set to undergo a major realignment ahead of the June elections, with conservatives pushing to regroup to counterbalance their assertive liberal rivals and minor parties stepping up their middle-of-the-road campaign, they said.

(New Year Special) Sanctions will pose tough test for N. Korean leader in 2018: experts

SEOUL -- Next year will be a critical period for North Korean leader Kim Jong-un as he would have to show some progress in his policies, especially in the economy, amid deepening international sanctions over its nuclear and missile programs, experts said Friday.

The North's ruler may seek to launch a peace offensive toward the United States to break the current deadlock as sanctions will likely begin to hit the regime hard in the new year, they added.

(New Year Special) S. Korean economy appears on track to grow 3 percent in 2018

SEOUL -- The South Korean economy appears likely to expand 3 percent in the new year on an upturn in global trade, but growing protectionism and the North Korea risk could weigh down Asia's fourth-largest economy, market watchers said Friday.

The International Monetary Fund has said South Korea's economic growth is forecast at around 3 percent in 2018, with private consumption growth benefiting from the sizable minimum wage increase and from policies supporting employment and social spending.

(New Year Special) S. Korea looking to score big with Winter Olympics in 2018

SEOUL -- South Korea will try to score big and show its sports power when the country hosts the Winter Olympic Games next year.

PyeongChang 2018 will be the first Olympics in South Korea since the 1988 Seoul Summer Games. The first mega winter sports event in South Korea will be held from Feb. 9 to 25 next year under the slogan "Passion. Connected."

(New Year Special) After a blockbuster year, K-pop looks to keep momentum into 2018

SEOUL -- From an unprecedented mega-hit debut to groundbreaking overseas successes, K-pop had one of its biggest years in 2017 in terms of diversity, substance and global outreach.

And it will continue to be at the forefront of the resurgence of "hallyu," or the global popularity of Korean pop culture, into 2018, according to industry watchers.

(2nd LD) S. Korea's consumer prices rise 1.5 pct in Dec.

SEJONG -- South Korea's consumer prices growth accelerated in December on a rise in prices of industrial goods and financial services, government data showed Friday.

The country's consumer price index climbed 1.5 percent this month from a year earlier, compared with the previous month's 1.3 percent on-year gain, according to the data compiled by Statistics Korea.

Parties agree to extend term of special panel on constitutional revision

SEOUL -- Rival parties agreed Friday to extend the term of a parliamentary special panel on a constitutional revision by six months, ending a weeklong stalemate that delayed the passage of pending bills related to citizens' livelihoods.

The floor leaders of the ruling Democratic Party, main opposition Liberty Korea Party (LKP) and People's Party reached the agreement to enable the panel to continue operating until next July. The panel's term had been set to expire on Dec. 31.

Major N. Korean ports handling bulk coal show signs of inactivity: report

SEOUL -- Nampho and other major North Korean ports handling bulk coal for exports appear to be inactive, with their coal supplies running low, Voice of America reported Friday.

The report comes amid the U.N. implementation of a punitive action on the North to place ceilings on coal purchases from it for its missile and nuclear provocations.

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