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Yonhap News Summary

All News 17:00 December 11, 2018

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

N.K. leader's visit to play role as 'stepping stone' for U.S.-N.K. summit: minister

SEOUL -- North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's promised visit to Seoul, if realized, will be significantly meaningful as it could play a role as a "stepping stone" for a second summit between the North and the United States, the unification minister said Tuesday.

The remark by Unification Minister Cho Myung-gyon reflects Seoul's wish that Kim will visit Seoul before year's end so as to help break the deadlock in denuclearization negotiations between Washington and Pyongyang and lead to a second summit between Kim and U.S. President Donald Trump.

"If a fourth inter-Korean summit takes place under this administration, it will have various meanings," Cho said during a lecture at a meeting of the National Unification Advisory Council. "It would be greatly meaningful in that an inter-Korean summit can play a role as a stepping stone ahead of a North-U.S. summit."

(LEAD) Seoul shares inch down on foreign selling
(ATTN: ADDS bond yields at bottom; CHANGES photo)

SEOUL -- South Korean stocks finished slightly lower Tuesday on a heavy sell-off by foreign investors amid persistent concerns over global trade frictions and an economic slowdown, experts said. The South Korean won declined against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) shed 0.82 points, or 0.04 percent, to 2.052.97. Trading volume was light at 267.01 million shares worth 4.91 trillion won (US$4.35 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 587 to 254.

After opening a tad higher, the index wobbled between positive and negative territory throughout the session.

Foreigner investors dumped a net 190.9 billion won worth of local shares, outweighing buying by retailers and institutions worth a net 61.5 billion won and 121.1 billion won, respectively.

(3rd LD) U.S. imposes sanctions on 3 N.K. officials
(ATTN: RECASTS dateline; ADDS more info in last para)

WASHINGTON/SEOUL -- The United States on Monday imposed sanctions on three North Korean officials, including a top aide to leader Kim Jong-un, in response to their alleged human rights abuses and censorship.

Choe Ryong-hae, who is seen as the No. 2 official in the regime, was designated for being an official of the ruling Workers' Party, the Department of the Treasury said in a statement.

Choe is director of the party's Organization and Guidance Department (OGD), which is "instrumental in implementing censorship policies, and purports to control the political affairs of all North Koreans," it said.

The other two officials are Minister of State Security Jong Kyong-thaek and Pak Kwang-ho, director of the party's Propaganda and Agitation Department (PAD).

190 firms need restructuring this year: regulator

SEOUL, Dec. 11 (Yonhap) -- The financial watchdog said Tuesday that 190 companies need to implement restructuring measures this year, but the number of firms on the annual list declined from 2017.

The number of big companies placed on the list fell to 10 from 25 last year, the Financial Supervisory Service (FSS) said in a statement.

However, the number of small- and medium-sized firms placed on the list rose to 180 in 2018, compared with 174 last year, the FSS said.

Gyeonggi Gov. Lee indicted for telling lies during election campaign

SUWON -- Gyeonggi Province Gov. Lee Jae-myung will stand trial for telling falsehoods about a series of allegations raised against him and about his family during his election campaign for the governorship.

The Suwon District Prosecutors' Office indicted Lee without physical detention on charges of violating the national election law, it said.

Lee has been under investigation for allegedly lying about his brother's institutionalization due to a mental illness during his campaign in the runup to the June local elections.

He denied when he appeared on TV debates as a governor candidate that he had used his authority as the then Seongnam mayor to have his now-deceased brother institutionalized against his will.

(LEAD) Finance minister calls for investment and job creation
(ATTN: UPDATES with details)

SEJONG -- South Korea's new finance minister on Tuesday urged companies to make investments and take the lead in creating jobs as the country makes every effort to bolster economic growth.

In October, the Bank of Korea trimmed its economic growth outlook to 2.7 percent for 2018 from its earlier projection of 2.9 percent. It is lower than the finance ministry's 2.9 percent outlook and the International Monetary Fund's 2.8 percent prediction.

The South Korean economy grew 3.1 percent in 2017 and 2.9 percent in 2016.

Hong Nam-ki, the minister of economy and finance, pressed companies to do their parts, noting that the government will continue to prime the pump for economic revitalization.


Kakao mourns taxi driver who died protesting carpool service

SEOUL -- South Korea's IT giant Kakao Corp., expressed condolences on Tuesday to a taxi driver who died after setting himself on fire to protest the company's recently started pilot carpool service.

"We express deep condolences over the unfortunate death," Kakao Mobility Corp., a transportation affiliate of Kakao, said in a statement.

Kakao operates South Korea's most popular mobile messenger application, KakaoTalk, and operates various businesses, including taxi-hailing services based on its wide scope of users.

"We plan to actively open discussion with the government, the National Assembly, related organizations, and the taxi industry on issues surrounding the service being offered," Kakao Mobility added.


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