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Yonhap News Summary

Defense 13:30 February 13, 2019

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

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(LEAD) Cheong Wa Dae denies Trump remarks on defense cost-sharing

SEOUL -- South Korea's presidential office Cheong Wa Dae on Wednesday dismissed the possibility of steep hikes in the country's share of the costs to maintain U.S. troops here, hours after U.S. President Donald Trump said Seoul has agreed to nearly double its share.

Trump also claimed that Seoul's share of the costs will continue to rise over the coming years.

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Trump says S. Korea should pay U.S. more for defense

WASHINGTON -- U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday called for a further increase in South Korea's share of the cost of stationing American troops on the peninsula.

Trump's remarks came only days after the allies signed a preliminary agreement renewing their cost-sharing deal for the 28,500-strong U.S. Forces Korea.

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U.S., N. Korea covered more than 12 items in pre-summit talks: envoy

WASHINGTON -- The United States and North Korea covered more than a dozen items in their pre-summit talks last week, the top U.S. negotiator was quoted as saying, as the two sides prepare an action-for-action deal to dismantle the North's nuclear weapons program.

In a meeting with a visiting South Korean parliamentary delegation Monday, U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun shared some details of his talks with North Korean officials in Pyongyang last week.

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(2nd LD) U.S. military commander voices optimism about N. Korea summit, doubts denuclearization

WASHINGTON -- A top U.S. military commander on Tuesday expressed optimism ahead of this month's second summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, but he also questioned the regime's seriousness about abandoning its nuclear weapons.

Trump and Kim are set to meet in Vietnam's capital, Hanoi, Feb. 27-28 to flesh out measures to achieve North Korea's denuclearization in return for U.S. security guarantees.

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S. Korea's jobless rate stands at 4.5 pct in January

SEJONG -- South Korea's jobless rate rose in January from a year earlier, government data showed Wednesday, despite ongoing efforts to create more jobs.

The unemployment rate stood at 4.5 percent last month, up 0.8 percentage point from a year earlier, according to the data compiled by Statistics Korea.

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S. Korea, Japan mull foreign ministerial talks in Munich this week: report

TOKYO, Feb. 13 (Yonhap) -- South Korea and Japan are pushing ahead with a plan to hold foreign ministerial talks on the sidelines of an international security conference in Munich this week to discuss the controversial issue of compensation for wartime labor, a Japanese daily reported Wednesday.

The Yomiuri Shimbun said the two countries are arranging the talks between Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha and her Japanese counterpart Taro Kono as they are expected to be in the German city to attend the annual three-day Munich Security Conference to be held from Friday.

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BTS album charts on Billboard 200 for 24th week in row

SEOUL -- K-pop sensation BTS' latest album has remained on the Billboard main album chart for the sixth month in a row, chart results showed Wednesday.

"Love Yourself: Answer," the finale of BTS' "Love Yourself" trilogy, came to 91st for the week of Feb. 16, the album's 24th week on the chart since it landed atop it in early September.

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N. Korea blasts S. Korea for raising military tension

SEOUL -- North Korea's main newspaper lashed out at South Korea on Wednesday for raising cross-border tensions, taking issue with a top military officer's recent morale-boosting troop visits.

The Rodong Sinmun, the organ of the North's ruling party, said that such a move "runs counter to dialogue and peace, the flow of the times," referring to Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Park Han-ki's visits to troops in time for the Lunar New Year's holiday last week.

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PM holds talks with Japanese lawmaker over forced labor rulings

SEOUL -- Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon met with a visiting Japanese lawmaker Wednesday to discuss frayed ties between the two neighboring countries in the wake of South Korean court rulings on wartime forced labor victims.

Lee and Fukushiro Nukaga, a member of Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party, had an 80-minute breakfast meeting from 8 a.m. at the prime minister's office in Seoul, according to Lee's office.

(END)

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