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Yonhap News Summary

All Headlines 13:30 December 13, 2018

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

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(LEAD) Koreas discuss groundbreaking ceremony for rail, road reconnection project

SEOUL -- South and North Korea held working-level talks on Thursday to set up a groundbreaking ceremony for their project to modernize North Korean railways and roads and connect them to the South.

President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un agreed at their third summit in Pyongyang in September to hold a ceremony before the end of the year to break ground for the project to reconnect two sets of cross-border railways and roads.

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S. Korea's military set for Dokdo defense drills

SEOUL -- South Korea's Navy, Coast Guard, Air Force and police will stage a regular exercise to hone their combined capabilities to defend Dokdo, the country's easternmost islets, military officials said Thursday.

In the two-day maritime drills to kick off later in the day, a 3,200-ton destroyer and seven other surface ships will be mobilized, along with several aircraft such as an F-15K fighter, a P-3C maritime surveillance plane and a UH-60 helicopter, they added.

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S. Korea's auto exports climb 1.6 pct in Nov.

SEOUL -- South Korea's automobile exports increased last month over the same period a year ago, led by upbeat sales in North America and Europe, government data showed Thursday.

Outbound shipments of vehicles reached 238,357 units worth US$3.97 billion in November, a 2.3 percent surge from a year earlier, according to the data compiled by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.

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Moon's approval rating dips to record low: poll

SEOUL -- President Moon Jae-in's approval rating has fallen to its lowest level since he took office last year amid several negative factors including a recent bullet train accident, a poll showed Thursday.

Moon's support came to 48.1 percent this week, down 1.4 percentage points from the previous week, according to the poll conducted by Realmeter of 1,508 adults across the country.

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N. Korean leader unlikely to visit Russia this year: Seoul's ambassador

SEOUL -- North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is unlikely to visit Russia this year, Seoul's top envoy in Moscow said Thursday amid speculation about whether or when Kim will travel there for talks with President Vladimir Putin.

Ambassador Woo Yoon-keun said that uncertainties hang over the prospects of the Kim-Putin summit, as the North Korean leader faces a litany of foreign policy tasks, including his possible visit to Seoul and envisioned summit with U.S. President Donald Trump.

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N. Korea denounces U.S. over human trafficking blacklisting

SEOUL -- North Korean propaganda outlets lashed out at the United States on Thursday for pressuring the communist nation over human rights issues, calling it an "intolerable insult" and "political provocation."

The U.S. has recently renewed its designation of the North as one of the worst human trafficking countries and a violator of religious freedom, and slapped sanctions on Choe Ryong-hae, a close aide to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, for human rights abuses.

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Gov't to strengthen inspection of kindergartens over lunch fees

SEOUL -- The government will strengthen oversight to monitor the management of lunch fees at private kindergartens, officials said Thursday.

The Ministry of Health and Welfare, and Ministry of Food and Drug Safety, announced the plan to prevent kindergartens from misusing taxpayer money for purposes other than providing decent meals for children in their charge.

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(Yonhap Feature) Teen figure skater taking giant leap in trailblazing season

SEOUL -- At the tender age of 17, Cha Jun-hwan is going where no South Korean male figure skater has gone before.

Once a cherubic child actor who melted many a heart in television commercials, Cha is now the nation's sweetheart on ice. But he isn't just a pretty face in shiny costume. In just his second senior season, Cha has developed into one of the world's best, with plenty of room to grow.

(END)

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