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Yonhap News Summary

Yonhap News Summary 17:17 November 12, 2018

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

(LEAD) S. Korea in talks with U.S. over solid-fuel rocket development

SEOUL -- South Korea is in talks with the United States over its pursuit of developing solid-fuel space vehicles for non-military purposes, Seoul's foreign ministry said Monday.

Last year, the allies agreed to eliminate restrictions on the payload weight of South Korea's ballistic missiles in response to a series of North Korean provocations at that time. South Korea is allowed to develop ballistic missiles with a range of up to 800 kilometers.

(LEAD) S. Korea defends joint marine drill with U.S. against N. Korea's criticism

SEOUL -- South Korea's defense authorities made clear Monday that Seoul will continue the ongoing joint marine exercise with the United States, countering North Korea's claim that the exercises amount to a breach of a recent military agreement between the Koreas.

Last week, the allies resumed the Korea Marine Exercise Program (KMEP) involving U.S. Marines from Okinawa, Japan, and such military equipment as amphibious assault vehicles, ending a six-month pause.

Korean economy believed to have peaked in 2nd quarter of 2017: statistics office chief

SEJONG -- South Korea's economy is believed to have peaked around the second quarter of last year, but it is still too early to declare that Asia's fourth-largest economy has entered a downward path, the head of the country's statistics office said Monday.

In a meeting with reporters here, Kang Shin-wook, commissioner of Statistics Korea, said it is difficult to exactly say when, "but I think the economic cycle has peaked around (the second quarter of 2017)."

Seoul stocks close lower on bio losses

SEOUL -- South Korean stocks closed lower Monday as individual buyers went on a heavy selling spree targeting large-cap bio shares. The South Korean won lost ground against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) surrendered 5.65 points, or 0.27 percent, to close at 2,080.44. Trading volume was moderate at 291 million shares worth 5.4 trillion won (US$4.7 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 506 to 325.

Confirmation hearing for finance minister nominee likely to follow budget review

SEOUL -- The National Assembly is expected to hold a confirmation hearing for Hong Nam-ki, the finance minister nominee, early next month after handling the government's 2019 budget proposal.

On Friday, President Moon Jae-in named Hong, the chief of the government policy coordination office under the prime minister's office, to replace Kim Dong-yeon as finance minister and deputy prime minister for economic affairs.

Air Force's first tanker arrives in S. Korea

SEOUL -- The Air Force's first aerial refueling tanker arrived in South Korea on Monday, military officials said, raising hope that it will drastically increase the operational radius of fighters.

"The first tanker arrived at an air base in Gimhae at around 2 p.m. It will receive various acceptance tests for about one month before being deployed," an Air Force official said.

Peace, economic cooperation key goals of Moon's summit diplomacy with ASEAN, APEC

SEOUL -- President Moon Jae-in is expected to use his upcoming trip to Singapore and Papua New Guinea to upgrade relations with Southeast Asian nations and drum up international support for his peace drive with North Korea.

Moon is set to leave for Singapore on Tuesday for a three-day visit to attend a trio of annual summits hosted by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) -- a Korea-ASEAN summit, an ASEAN plus three summit also involving China and Japan and the broader East Asia Summit.

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