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Yonhap News Summary

All News 13:30 January 03, 2018

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

(LEAD) N. Korea shows no reaction to S. Korea's offer for talks

SEOUL -- North Korea has yet to respond to South Korea's latest offer for high-level talks Wednesday, Seoul officials said, after its leader Kim Jong-un extended a rare rapprochement toward Seoul.

South Korea proposed Tuesday holding inter-Korean talks a week later at the shared border village of Panmunjom to discuss the North's potential participation in the PyeongChang Olympic Games and ways to improve their ties.

(LEAD) U.S. to continue to put maximum pressure on N. Korea: White House

WASHINGTON -- The United States will continue to put "maximum pressure" on North Korea to force it to abandon its nuclear weapons program, the White House said Tuesday amid the possibility of inter-Korean talks next week.

The high-level talks were proposed by Seoul in response to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's New Year's address that signaled the regime's openness to cross-border dialogue and participation in next month's Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea.

Ministry denies reports of UAE troop pullout

SEOUL -- South Korea's defense ministry said Wednesday it has not considered withdrawing troops from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) amid rampant speculation about ties between the two countries.

"The Ministry of National Defense has not reviewed the pullout of the Akh Unit," the ministry's public affairs office said in a text message for reporters.

Regulator seeks clarification over possible fine against Samsung chairman's assets

SEOUL -- South Korea's financial regulator said Wednesday it has asked the Ministry of Government Legislation to clarify whether it could impose a fine against Samsung Group Chairman Lee Kun-hee, who had allegedly withdrawn 4.4 trillion won (US$4.13 billion) from accounts under borrowed names.

Lee has been criticized for withdrawing the money without paying taxes or a fine, although he allegedly violated a law that bans financial transactions with borrowed-name accounts.

(2nd LD) Hyundai Heavy sets 2018 sales target at 7.9 tln won

SEOUL -- Hyundai Heavy Industries Co., South Korea's leading shipbuilder, said Wednesday that it aims to achieve 7.98 trillion won (US$7.5 billion) in sales this year as its president warned of an unprecedented crisis due to declining order backlogs.

"This year, we could face a grave situation that we have never gone through before," Hyundai Heavy President and CEO Kang Hwan-goo said in his speech for 2018.

Lotte faces bumpy road to sell off its discount store chain in China

SEOUL -- South Korean retail giant Lotte is facing a bumpy road as its latest negotiations over the sale of its hypermarket chain in China fell through, industry sources said Wednesday.

In September, the business group announced its decision to pull out Lotte Mart in China after it suffered major losses in the wake of the Seoul-Beijing diplomatic spat over a U.S. anti-missile system.

IOC 'welcomes' Koreas' interest in talks on North's participation in PyeongChang 2018

SEOUL -- The International Olympic Committee (IOC) on Wednesday welcomed the interest taken by the two Koreas in having talks on the North's participation in the upcoming Winter Games south of the border.

In a statement emailed to Yonhap News Agency on Wednesday, IOC spokesman Mark Adams said, "The IOC welcomes the mutual intentions of the governments of the Republic of Korea and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea to start direct talks about the participation of athletes from DPRK in the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018."

Pro baseball's new commissioner envisions league as successful industry

SEOUL -- Chung Un-chan, former South Korean prime minister inaugurated as head of professional baseball on Wednesday, has previously been an economics scholar, with Ph.D. in economics at Princeton University.

And it's perhaps the academic in him that envisions the 10 clubs in the Korea Baseball Organization (KBO) developing into successful business entities.

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