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Yonhap News Summary

Yonhap News Summary 13:30 October 16, 2018

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

(2nd LD) Two Koreas, U.N. Command to discuss disarming Joint Security Area in DMZ

SEOUL -- The two Koreas and the United Nations Command (UNC) will launch trilateral consultations Tuesday on disarming the Joint Security Area (JSA) in the heavily fortified border area, Seoul's defense ministry announced.

The closed-door meeting is to open at the truce village of Panmunjom inside the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) at 10 a.m., it said.

(4th LD) Moon says France, U.N. can speed up N. Korea's denuclearization by easing sanctions

PARIS -- South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Monday stressed the need to ease international sanctions against North Korea when and if the communist state takes practical steps to denuclearize.

The call came in a bilateral summit with French President Emmanuel Macron where the South Korean leader asked France, a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council, to spearhead the move when conditions are met.

N. Korea demands lifting of sanctions, calls them hostile policy against Pyongyang

SEOUL -- North Korea called for the United States to lift sanctions immediately Tuesday, calling such restrictive measures indicative of Washington's continued hostile policy toward its regime.

In a commentary by an individual writer, the Korean Central News Agency said that the U.S. should take corresponding steps in response to Pyongyang's major conciliatory action in the past few months.

S. Korea, U.S. to open 'watershed' talks on splitting USFK cost

SEOUL -- Senior South Korean and U.S. diplomats will begin another round of negotiations here Wednesday on sharing the cost of American troops in Korea, aiming to strike a deal this time.

The talks to be held at the Korea Institute for Defense Analyses are a watershed in efforts to set the new level of Seoul's financial contribution to the stationing of U.S. Forces Korea (USFK). The existing accord is to expire this year.

S. Korean defense minister to join ASEAN security forum in Singapore

SEOUL -- South Korean Defense Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo will attend a security forum hosted by Southeast Asian countries this week, his ministry announced Tuesday.

The 5th ASEAN Defense Ministers' Meeting Plus (ADMM-Plus) is to open in Singapore on Friday for a two-day run.

Vatican gives cautious response to speculation on pope's N. Korea visit

VATICAN CITY -- The Vatican has reacted cautiously to a veteran South Korean politician's remarks about Pope Francis' possible visit to North Korea next spring.

Paloma Garcia Ovejero, deputy spokesperson of the Holy See, told Yonhap News Agency on Monday that the Vatican has nothing to comment on speculation about the pope's North Korea visit, as the official invitation has yet to arrive.

U.S. calls for sanctions implementation following inter-Korean rail agreement

WASHINGTON -- The United States on Monday called for the full enforcement of United Nations sanctions on North Korea as the two Koreas moved to establish rail and road links across their border.

The two Koreas will hold a ground-breaking ceremony in late November or early December to start the modernization and connection of railways and roads along the eastern and western regions, the sides announced after high-level talks earlier in the day.

Trump says N. Korea situation 'coming along very well'

WASHINGTON -- U.S. President Donald Trump said Monday that the situation with North Korea is "coming along very well" and he expects "good things" to happen in the future.

Speaking to reporters before heading to hurricane-hit Florida, Trump touted the progress his administration has made on North Korea's nuclear weapons program.

S. Korea announces end to MERS outbreak

SEOUL -- South Korea on Tuesday officially declared an end to the country's first Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) outbreak in three years, health authorities here said.

The announcement made at midnight is in line with guidelines set by the World Health Organization that requires no new infections for a minimum of 28 days, which is twice the length of the virus' incubation period, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) said.

S. Korea's import price index approaches 4-yr high in Sept.

SEOUL -- South Korea's import prices rebounded to a near four-year high in September due to a steady rise in crude oil, central bank data showed Tuesday.

In Korean won terms, the import price index gained 1.5 percent to 90.69 last month from August, according to preliminary data from the Bank of Korea (BOK). Compared to a year earlier, it jumped 9.7 percent.

It inched down 0.2 percent in August, snapping a streak of seventh consecutive months of on-month gains that started in January.

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