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Yonhap News Summary

All News 17:10 January 03, 2018

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

(3rd LD) N. Korea reopens communication channel with South

SEOUL -- Two Koreas held their first contact via a cross-border communication channel in nearly two years on Wednesday as the North reopened the suspended hotline one day after Seoul offered high-level talks.

North Korea announced earlier in the day that its leader, Kim Jong-un, ordered the reopening of the channel at the shared border village of Panmunjom.

Cheong Wa Dae welcomes reopening of communication hotline with N. Korea

SEOUL -- South Korea's presidential office Cheong Wa Dae welcomed North Korea's plan to reopen an inter-Korean communication hotline Wednesday, calling it a move toward direct and frequent dialogue between the divided Koreas.

"I believe it signals a move toward an environment where communication will be possible at all times," the chief presidential press secretary Yoon Young-chan told reporters.

Parties welcome reopening of inter-Korean communication channel

SEOUL -- Political parties on Wednesday welcomed Pyongyang's decision to reactivate a stalled inter-Korean communication channel, hoping it would lead to a thaw in cross-border ties that have remained chilled amid the reclusive state's provocations.

Some conservative parties, however, struck a cautious note, raising the possibility that the communist state could take advantage of the inter-Korean dialogue to stall for time to complete its nuclear program.

U.S. 8th Army to greet new commander this week

SEOUL -- The Eighth Army of the United States said Wednesday its new commander Lt. Gen. Michael A. Bills will assume the post this week.

Bills, the operations officer of the U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) and the allies' Combined Forces Command, is replacing Lt. Gen. Thomas S. Vandal as the leader of the signature unit of the USFK.

(LEAD) Moon vows support, efforts to revitalize shipbuilding industry

SEOUL -- President Moon Jae-in vowed efforts to revitalize the country's shipbuilding industry Wednesday, noting the country continues to maintain a cutting-edge technology that can easily turn the tide around.

"Over the past few years, our shipbuilding industry has been experiencing the worst recession in its history due to a drop in global orders," the president said while visiting a local shipyard in Geoje, located some 450 kilometers southeast of Seoul.

(LEAD) Bird flu detected at chicken farm in Gyeonggi Province

POCHEON, South Korea -- A chicken farm in Gyeonggi Province reported a suspected case of avian influenza (AI) on Wednesday, prompting quarantine officials to impose a temporary ban on poultry transportation in the region.

The farm with 197,000 laying chickens in Pocheon, 45 kilometers north of Seoul, reported that about 30 birds have died since Tuesday, and the preliminary test showed that they were infected with AI, the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs said.

(LEAD) Seoul stocks end higher on tech, steel gains

SEOUL -- South Korean stocks extended their gains to a fourth day Wednesday, as investors scooped up market heavyweights such as Samsung Electronics and steelmakers, analysts said. The Korean won fell against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 6.7 points, or 0.27 percent, to close at 2,486.35. Trade volume was moderate at 327 million shares, worth 6 trillion won (US$5.6 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 408 to 401.

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