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Yonhap News Summary

Politics 13:30 November 30, 2018

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

(3rd LD) S. Korean central bank raise key rate to 1.75 pct

SEOUL -- South Korea's central bank on Friday raised the country's policy rate to a 3 1/2-year high of 1.75 percent.

As widely expected, the monetary policy board of the Bank of Korea (BOK) voted to raise the rate by a quarter percentage point for the first time since November last year.

Koreas to complete work to remove some guard posts, land mines in DMZ

SEOUL -- South and North Korea will complete demolishing 10 front-line guard posts each and demining a ridge in the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) Friday, Seoul's defense ministry said.

They began the work in October as part of a military accord to reduce tensions and build trust, which their defense chiefs signed in September after the third summit between President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Pyongyang.

S. Korea seeking N.K. leader's visit with 'all possibilities open'

SEOUL -- South Korea's presidential office said Friday that it still leaves "all possibilities open" regarding North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's planned visit to Seoul, in response to a news report that Seoul was trying to arrange his trip in mid-December.

A local media report said that Cheong Wa Dae was preparing for Kim's trip, hoping that it could take place around Dec. 13-14, but the North has asked for a delay, citing security concerns.

S. Korean president vows efforts to improve ties with Argentina

BUENOS AIRES -- South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Thursday vowed to improve his country's ties with Argentina and increase support for South Korean residents and businesses in the South American nation.

In a meeting with some 200 South Korean residents and business leaders in Buenos Aires, Moon said his government will also support the education of second and third generation Koreans in Argentina.

(2nd LD) S. Korea's industrial output rebounds in October

SEJONG -- South Korea's industrial output rebounded in October from a month earlier, due to a rise in metal processing and logistics production, government data showed Friday.

Production in the mining, manufacturing, gas and electricity industries gained 1 percent on-month in October, following a revised 2.7 percent on-month fall in the previous month.

S. Korea provides North with materials for military communication line

SEOUL -- South Korea has provided North Korea with materials needed to stably manage a military communication line on the west coast, Seoul's defense ministry said Friday.

On Thursday, the ministry delivered optical and copper cable transmission equipment and communication conduits. They are among the items for which Seoul has secured exceptions from U.N. Security Council sanctions.

Trump blacklists N. Korea again for human trafficking

WASHINGTON -- U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday blacklisted North Korea again for human trafficking, extending a symbolic ban on provisions of U.S. funding to the regime for another year.

Trump designated the North, Eritrea, Russia, Syria and others as countries failing to meet the minimum standards under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000, according to a "presidential determination" released by the White House.

(News Focus) BOK raises key rate on ballooning household debt

SEOUL -- The Bank of Korea (BOK), after much deliberation, took a step towards monetary tightening Friday by raising the policy rate by a quarter percentage point for the first time in a year to 1.75 percent.

The move is in line with the market consensus, which had anticipated that the central bank would take action at its last rate-setting meeting of the year, despite sluggish employment and an apparent economic downturn.

Moon's aide requests probe into alleged irregularities by presidential special inspectors

SEOUL -- President Moon Jae-in's aide for civil affairs asked prosecutors and police Friday to swiftly investigate suspected irregularities involving some officials who were dispatched to the presidential office to inspect government ministries.

The presidential office Cheong Wa Dae on Thursday replaced a team of special inspectors over allegations that one member from the prosecution privately visited the national police agency last month to get information over their probe into a corruption case involving the official's acquaintance.

Foreign ownership of S. Korean land rises 1.8 pct in H1

SEOUL -- Foreign ownership of South Korean land increased 1.8 percent in the first half of 2018 compared with the end of last year, the transport ministry said Friday.

Foreigners owned 243.25 million square meters, or 0.2 percent, of Korean land in the first half. It was up from 238.90 million square meters at the end of December, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport said in a statement.

Ex-Iran football head coach eyes S. Korea return

SEOUL -- Former Iran national football team head coach Afshin Ghotbi is looking to land a job in South Korea, his agent said Friday, as he believes his abundant experience in Asia can help the country's pro football league.

Ghotbi is in talks with several K League clubs, his South Korea representative said without revealing names of the teams. If he seals a contract, Ghotbi will return to the country where he developed his coaching career.

(LEAD) Samsung to retire 4.8 tln won worth of corporate shares

SEOUL -- Samsung Electronics Co. said Friday it will retire 4.8 trillion won (US$4.29 billion) worth of corporate shares in line with efforts to benefit shareholders.

The South Korean tech giant decided to retire 449 million units of its common shares, along with 80 million units of preferred shares.

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