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Yonhap News Summary

Yonhap News Summary 13:30 January 09, 2019

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

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(LEAD) N.K. leader visits industrial facilities in China

BEIJING -- North Korean leader Kim Jong-un visited industrial facilities in Beijing on Wednesday, a day after he met with Chinese President Xi Jinping in a show of close ties ahead of a possible second summit with U.S. President Donald Trump.

Kim visited a pharmaceutical factory located in the economic-technological development zone in the Chinese capital. Sources said that he spent around 20-30 minutes touring the plant operated by Tong Ren Tang, a drug-making conglomerate known for its long history of more than 300 years.

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U.S., N. Korea in back-channel talks over 2nd summit: ambassador

WASHINGTON -- The United States and North Korea continue to have "back-channel" talks to arrange a second summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, Seoul's top envoy in Washington said Tuesday.

Trump and Kim have both said they want to meet again to follow up on their historic first summit last June, which produced an agreement to work toward the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula in exchange for security guarantees from the U.S.

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(LEAD) Minister expects new Army command to play key role in allied combat readiness

SEOUL -- South Korean Defense Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo said Wednesday that the country's new hub Army command will have to play a key role in the future alliance with the United States.

Speaking at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Ground Operation Command (GOC), he said it needs to spearhead "all joint and combined operations" on the ground. The ceremony was held at the unit's headquarters in Yongin, just south of Seoul.

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President Moon to answer critical questions in new year press conference

SEOUL -- President Moon Jae-in was set to face many critical questions, including how he plans to finally rid North Korea of its nuclear weapons and revitalize the possibly slowing economy, in his first press conference in the new year this week, officials said Wednesday.

The press conference will be held Thursday at the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae.

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(2nd LD) S. Korea's jobless rate rises in December

SEJONG -- South Korea's jobless rate rose slightly in December from a year earlier, government data showed Wednesday, as the finance minister vowed to create 150,000 jobs this year.

The unemployment rate stood at 3.4 percent last month, up 0.1 percentage point from a year earlier, according to the data compiled by Statistics Korea.

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S. Korean households' surplus funds stay flat in Q3

SEOUL, Jan. 9 (Yonhap) -- South Korean households' excess funds remained unchanged in the third quarter of 2018 from a year earlier, central bank data showed Wednesday.

Net financial funds -- financial assets minus liabilities -- held by households and nonprofit organizations totaled 11 trillion won (US$9.8 billion) in the July-September period, staying unmoved from a year ago, according to preliminary data from the Bank of Korea (BOK).

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Samsung Electronics to expand partnership on AI

LAS VEGAS -- Samsung Electronics Co. will expand partnerships with advanced artificial intelligence (AI) platforms to better support smart gadgets and provide customized services, its CEO said Tuesday.

During the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), the South Korean electronics giant said its voice-activated digital assistant Bixby will be integrated into more of its products, including its 2019 QLED TVs, as well as smart appliances like refrigerators, washers and AI speakers.

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(News Focus) N.K. leader shows China may be 'new way'

WASHINGTON -- North Korean leader Kim Jong-un demonstrated in his surprise visit to China this week that Beijing may be the "new way" he said he could pursue if negotiations with the U.S. go awry, analysts here said Tuesday.

Kim is on his fourth trip to the ally in less than a year amid an ongoing impasse between Pyongyang and Washington over how far the regime will go to dismantle its nuclear weapons program and what concessions the U.S. will give in return.
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