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Yonhap News Summary

All News 13:30 February 19, 2019

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

(3rd LD) 2 killed, more than 50 injured in Daegu sauna fire

DAEGU -- Two people were killed and more than 50 others injured after a fire broke out Tuesday at a public sauna in Daegu, firefighters said.

The fire started at 7:11 a.m. in the men's sauna on the fourth floor of a 7-story building in the city, about 302 kilometers southeast of Seoul. Firefighters put out the fire in about 20 minutes.

Crown prince of Abu Dhabi to visit Seoul next week

SEOUL -- Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan will visit South Korea next week for a meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae-in that will focus on ways to improve the countries' ties, Moon's presidential office Cheong Wa Dae said Tuesday.

The de facto leader of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) will arrive here next Tuesday on a two-day official visit.

S. Korea's auto exports up 12.6 pct in January

SEOUL -- South Korea's automobile exports moved up 12.6 percent on-year in January on the back of strong demand for SUVs and environment friendly cars in North America and Europe, the industry ministry said Tuesday.

According to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, automakers here shipped 213,618 cars overseas last month, with the value estimated at US$3.67 billion. The North American market accounted for $1.5 billion, up 19.6 percent on-year, followed by the European Union with $820 million, up 20.4 percent.

S. Korea to allow imports of medical cannabis starting in March

SEOUL -- South Korea will allow imports of medical cannabis starting next month, health authorities said Tuesday, as part of efforts to provide more treatment options for patients with rare diseases.

The Ministry of Food and Drug Safety said the National Assembly has passed a bill to amend a relevant law to allow imports and exports of non-hallucinogenic doses of medical marijuana for patients suffering from epilepsy and other diseases.

Airlines raise fuel surcharges on int'l routes in March

SEOUL -- South Korean airlines said Tuesday they have raised their fuel surcharges on international routes for next month to reflect rising oil prices.

Local airlines currently charge fuel surcharges of up to 19,200 won (US$17) for one-way travel tickets on long-haul routes. The one-way travel fuel surcharges on international routes will rise to 34,800 won starting in March, airline officials said.

Coal imports set another record in 2018

SEOUL -- South Korea's coal imports hit a new high last year despite government efforts to phase out the use of fine dust-emitting energy sources, industry data showed Tuesday.

The country shipped in 131.52 million tons of coal last year, breaking the record for the second consecutive year. Coal imports in 2017 totaled 131.46 million tons. The figure for 2018 marks an 11 percent increase from 2016.

(LEAD) U.S., N. Korea seriously mull exchange of liaison officers: CNN

SEOUL -- The United States and North Korea are seriously considering an exchange of liaison officers, CNN reported Monday, as the leaders of the two nations prepare for a second summit next week in Vietnam.

The first step forward in establishing new U.S.-North Korea ties could be the exchange of officers, the U.S. broadcaster said, citing two high-level diplomatic sources.

(LEAD) N. Korea, U.S. look set for Hanoi talks on summit agenda

SEOUL -- North Korea's envoy for the United States arrived in Beijing on Tuesday apparently on his way to Hanoi for talks on the agenda of an upcoming summit between leader Kim Jong-un and U.S. President Donald Trump.

Kim Hyok-chol, special representative for U.S. affairs of the State Affairs Commission, is expected to visit the Vietnamese capital to meet with his American counterpart, Stephen Biegun, to nail down the details of what will be discussed in the second meeting between Trump and Kim in Hanoi on Feb. 27-28.

(US-NK summit) (News Focus) Past denuke talks marred by distrust, security dilemma, political hurdles

SEOUL -- U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un are bracing for another showdown in Vietnam next week over Pyongyang's nuclear programs amid hopes and doubts about a possible breakthrough.

Past negotiations, including the long-stalled six-party talks, have failed to eliminate Pyongyang's nuclear and missile threats due to deep-seated distrust, a security dilemma, domestic political obstacles and geopolitical dynamics.

(US-NK summit) (News Focus) Breakthrough in Kim-Trump summit likely to provide much-needed momentum for inter-Korean relations

SEOUL -- Next week's summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and U.S. President Donald Trump in Vietnam is expected to provide much-needed momentum for inter-Korean exchanges that have been stalled for months pending progress in the denuclearization process.

A breakthrough in the summit, scheduled for Feb. 27-28 in Hanoi, could also provide the two Koreas more leeway in their pursuit of full-fledged economic cooperation that has been stymied by multiple sanctions on the reclusive state.

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