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Yonhap News Summary

Yonhap News Summary 13:30 January 22, 2019

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

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Seoul shares down 0.52 pct late Tuesday morning

SEOUL -- South Korean stocks traded lower late Tuesday morning as worries over China's growth cooled down market sentiment, causing investors to lock in recent gains.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index lost 11.08 points, or 0.52 percent, to 2,113.53 as of 11:20 a.m.

The market opened slightly lower but extended losses in late morning trading, as retail investors dumped local shares following a recent rally.

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(LEAD) U.S. think tank unveils 'undeclared' N.K. missile base
(ATTN: ADDS more info in paras 9-10)

WASHINGTON -- A U.S. think tank on Monday unveiled a North Korean missile base it said has yet to be declared by the Pyongyang government.

The Sino-ri missile operating base, 212 kilometers north of the Demilitarized Zone dividing the Koreas, is one of the oldest of 20 or so such bases undeclared by the North, according to Beyond Parallel, a project of the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.

The report says the base houses a regiment-sized unit equipped with Nodong-1 medium-range ballistic missiles. It could have also played a role in developing the Pukkuksong-2 (KN-15) ballistic missile that was first tested in February 2017.

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Korean washers' U.S. market share rises despite tariffs: data

SEOUL -- Exports of South Korean washers to the United States fell nearly half last year due to hefty tariffs, but they continued to maintain their leading position in the key market, data showed Tuesday.

Shipments of Korean washers to the U.S. stood at US$187 million in 2018, tumbling 44.2 percent from a year earlier, according to the data compiled by the Korea International Trade Association (KITA).

The slumping sales were mainly attributable to safeguard duties implemented by Washington in February, which forced major home appliance makers -- Samsung Electronics Co. and LG Electronics Inc. -- to raise their prices in the U.S. market.

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(LEAD) Gov't to expand support for small merchants ahead of holiday
(ATTN: RECASTS headline, lead; ADDS details throughout, photo)

SEOUL -- The government will expand its financial support, such as loan guarantees, for small merchants and the underprivileged to help spur spending ahead of Lunar New Year's Day, it said Tuesday.

The government is expected to extend around 35.2 trillion won (US$31.2 billion) of the holiday financial support, up some 6 trillion won from the previous year. This year's holiday falls on Feb. 5.

The government usually expands fund injections ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday and Chuseok, the South Korean equivalent of Thanksgiving Day, in a bid to stabilize consumer prices. Food prices tend to rise as food purchases soar to prepare holiday dishes.

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S. Korea to produce new air defense command system

SEOUL -- A South Korean defense firm has begun the production of a new air defense command and control system featuring the speedier detection of hostile aircraft, the country's arms procurement agency said Tuesday.

In December, the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) signed a contract worth 32.9 billion won (US$29.1 million) with Hanwha Systems to produce 12 Command Control and Alert (C2A) systems by next year. The initial production began earlier this month.

The system is designed to reduce the amount of time needed to detect and respond to a hostile target to 30 seconds from the current up to 3 minutes, as it employs an automated real-time transmission of data on the target, DAPA explained.

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N. Korea demands full-scale cross-border cooperation without outside meddling

SEOUL -- North Korean propaganda outlets ramped up calls for full-scale economic cooperation with South Korea on Tuesday, saying that outside intervention should not stand in the way of cross-border exchanges.

The North has been making near-daily appeals for full-fledged cooperation and exchanges with South Korea since leader Kim Jong-un said in his New Year's Day address that he wants to restart two lucrative cross-border economic cooperation projects.

"Outside meddling and intervention that blocks our people's reconciliation, unity and unification should never be tolerated," Meari, a propaganda outlet, said in an article.

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LEAD) S. Korean economy grows 2.7 pct in 2018: BOK
(ATTN: ADDS more info from 6th para, photo)

SEOUL -- The South Korean economy grew at the slowest pace in six years in 2018 as shrinking corporate investment weighed heavily on Asia's fourth-largest economy, central bank data showed Tuesday.

The nation's economy expanded 2.7 percent on-year in 2018, slowing down from 3.1 percent the previous year, according to the advance estimate by the Bank of Korea.

It is the most sluggish on-year growth since 2012, when the country pulled off 2.3 percent.

But it met the BOK's earlier growth forecast of 2.7 percent for 2018.

For the final quarter of last year, the economy rose 1 percent from three months earlier, jumping from a 0.6 percent on-quarter gain in both the second and third quarters.

(END)

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