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Yonhap News Summary

All News 17:12 December 31, 2018

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

(2nd LD) No surveillance of civilians under Moon gov't: presidential aide

SEOUL -- President Moon Jae-in's secretary for civil affairs said Monday that the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae has not surveilled civilians for political purposes, shrugging off a former investigator's spying claim.

Controversy has flared up after Kim Tae-woo, a former special investigator at the presidential office, made the revelation that he had collected information, including info about civilians and former bureaucrats who should not be subject to Cheong Wa Dae surveillance.

Seoul expects N.K. leader to keep inter-Korean peace process in New Year's address

SEOUL -- North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is expected to state his position on keeping the inter-Korean peace process moving forward when he delivers a New Year's address this week, the unification ministry said Monday.

Kim has used the annual Jan. 1 address to outline key policy goals and directions for the new year. The in-person speech is closely watched by the outside world for hints about where Kim is going to take the North on key issues, such as the standoff over its nuclear program.

Provision of $8 mln in South Korean aid to N.K. postponed again

SEOUL -- A US$8 million humanitarian aid package South Korea set aside for North Korea is set to be scrapped as the plan failed to materialize for the second year in a row amid international sanctions on Pyongyang.

The Seoul government decided in September last year to send the assistance to the North through global agencies, but it has postponed the execution of the plan amid international sanctions on the communist nation.

Revised S. Korea-U.S. free trade pact to take effect

SEJONG -- South Korea said Monday that the revised free trade agreement (FTA) with the United States is set to take effect this week, a move that could improve commerce and investment, and further deepen bilateral relations.

The two sides are scheduled to exchange a written notification Tuesday that they have completed domestic procedures for the implementation of an updated arrangement, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said.

S. Korea nullifies passports of 3 nationals in Libya

SEOUL -- South Korea has invalidated the passports of three nationals refusing to leave Libya, a government official said Monday.

A total of 13 South Koreans are staying in the nation ridden with unstable security conditions.

The government has strongly requested that they depart the country for security reasons.

A South Korean man remains held hostage by an unidentified armed group there after he was kidnapped in July.

Annual salary of civil servants to rise 1.8 pct in 2019

SEOUL -- The annual salaries of South Korean civil servants will rise 1.8 percent in 2019, the smallest hike since 2014 when an increase of 1.7 percent was recorded, the Ministry of Personnel Management said Monday.

The ministry said the Cabinet meeting approved the salary increase plan for civil servants in the morning, while noting all high-ranking government officials above Grade 2 have decided to voluntarily forego their salary increases for next year in consideration of economic difficulties.

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