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Yonhap News Summary

All News 17:04 January 04, 2018

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

(2nd LD) President says sex slave deal defective but still not void

SEOUL -- President Moon Jae-in on Thursday reiterated his stance that a 2015 deal between Seoul and Tokyo on ending their longstanding dispute over former wartime sex slaves is defective but said the incumbent government may still work with the agreement to resolve the issue.

"We have said the agreement signed by the former government is defective, but there are some difficulties because it is also true the former government made an official agreement and we must resolve the issue under the existing relationship between the two countries," the president said while visiting a 90-year-old former sex slave, Kim Bok-dong, at a local hospital.

N. Korea may send 2 skiers to PyeongChang Paralympics: official

SEOUL -- North Korea may send a team of two skiers to the PyeongChang Winter Paralympic Games next month if it decides to participate in the multi-winter sport event in South Korea, an official of a U.S. civic group which supports North Korean athletes said Thursday.

Shin Young-soon, head of the Kinsler Foundation, said Pyongyang may send two para nordic skiers -- Ma Yoo-cheol and Kim Jung-hyun -- to the Winter Paralympics if the communist state decides to compete.

(LEAD) USFK chief warns against illusions about N. Korea's peace overture

SEOUL -- The commanding general of the U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) on Thursday stressed the importance of combat readiness and unity among regional powers to cope with North Korea's recent peace offensive.

"We can be generally pleased by the recent overtures that happened. But we must keep our expectations at the appropriate level," Gen. Vincent K. Brooks, who leads the 28,500-strong U.S. Forces Korea (USFK), said at a lecture in Seoul.

S. Korea opposed to 'freeze for freeze' option on N. Korean nukes: foreign ministry

SEOUL -- South Korea does not support the option of a so-called "freeze-for-freeze" that requires North Korea to stop its military weapons tests in return for the suspension of annual South Korean-U.S. joint military exercises, a foreign ministry spokesman said Thursday.

"Our government does not agree with the [freeze-for-freeze] stance," foreign ministry spokesman Noh Kyu-duk said when asked what stance Seoul would take if the issue were raised at future inter-Korean talks.

(LEAD) Seoul stocks dip on profit-taking

SEOUL -- South Korean stocks finished lower Thursday, as investors opted to cash in recent gains, market analysts said. The Korean won rose against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) fell 19.89 points, or 0.8 percent, to close at 2,466.46. Trade volume was moderate at 330 million shares worth 6.8 trillion won (US$6.4 billion), with losers overwhelming gainers 547 to 271.

Free trade deals buoy S. Korean exports

SEOUL -- South Korea's exports to 52 countries with which it has free trade agreements jumped nearly 20 percent in 2017 compared with a year earlier, bolstering its overall shipments, a local trade body said Thursday.

During the January-November period, deliveries of goods to FTA partner countries climbed 19.6 percent to US$380.35 billion, accounting for 72.5 percent of the country's exports valued at $524.8 billion, according to data from the Korea International Trade Association (KITA).

(LEAD) Park faces new charges for taking bribes from NIS

SEOUL -- Prosecutors on Thursday indicted former President Park Geun-hye with additional bribery charges for illegally accepting billions of won from the state spy agency during her term.

The Seoul Central District Prosecutors' Office said it has added new charges of bribery, embezzlement and loss of state funds to its indictment of Park, who is already on trial on 18 charges in connection with a corruption scandal that stripped her of power in May last year.

Nuclear envoys of S. Korea, China to meet to discuss N. Korea issues

SEOUL -- The top nuclear envoys from South Korea and China will hold a meeting this week to discuss North Korea's nuclear issue and bilateral relations, the foreign ministry here said Thursday.

Lee Do-hoon, the special representative for Korean Peninsula peace and security affairs, will meet with his Chinese counterpart Kong Xuanyou in Seoul on Friday, according to the ministry.

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