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Yonhap News Summary

North Korea 17:12 July 11, 2019

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

(LEAD) Seoul stocks up for 2nd day on revived hope for Fed rate cut

SEOUL -- South Korean stocks advanced by more than 1 percent Thursday as U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell bolstered market bets for a rate cut later this month. The Korean won sharply rose against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) gained 21.8 points, or 1.06 percent, to close at 2,080.58. Trade volume was moderate at 368 million shares worth 4.93 trillion won (US$4.2 billion), with gainers outnumbering losers 640 to 187.

Ministry says no request yet from U.S. for military coalition to safeguard Gulf waters

SEOUL -- South Korea's foreign ministry said Thursday that it has not received any request from the United States to join an initiative to form a military coalition to protect strategically vital waters off of Iran.

According to media reports, Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), said that Washington was talking to a number of countries with the "political will" to support the initiative to ensure freedom of navigation in the Strait of Hormuz.

(2nd LD) Supreme Court rules against entry ban for Korean-American singer

SEOUL -- The Supreme Court on Thursday ruled in favor of a Korean-American singer who has been banned from visiting South Korea after winning U.S. citizenship about 17 years ago in an apparent attempt to evade military conscription.

The top court said that it is unlawful for the South Korean government to refuse to grant an entry visa to Steve Yoo, once a successful singer here better known as Yoo Seung-jun.

N. Korea changes constitution to make Kim Jong-un official head of state

SEOUL -- North Korea has revised its constitution to stipulate that leader Kim Jong-un is the official head of state, according to a state media outlet.

The new constitution, revised in April's Supreme People's Assembly (SPA) session, states that the chairman of the State Affairs Commission (SAC), the communist state's highest seat of power, serves as its supreme leader that "represents the country," according to Naenara, a North Korean propaganda website.

S. Korea rejects U.S.' unilateral push to send German officer to UNC

SEOUL-- South Korea strongly opposed a potential dispatch of a German officer to the U.S.-led United Nations Command (UNC) as the plan was pushed without prior consultation with Seoul, the defense ministry here said Thursday.

During vice ministerial-level talks between Seoul and Berlin on the sidelines of the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore in May, South Korea learned of the fact that the United States had planned to have a liaison officer from the German military at the UNC.

Fiscal easing eyed to lift S. Korea's 'low' growth: S&P economist

SEOUL -- South Korea has room for aggressive fiscal easing to haul the economy out of a further slowdown amid concerns that the trade conflict between the United States and China may last longer than expected, an economist at S&P Global Ratings said Thursday.

"The first point I would make is that Korea needs to lift its growth. The growth is too low and you can see that because inflation is below Korea's target," Shaun Roache, chief Asia-Pacific economist at S&P Global Ratings, told a press conference.

U.S. mulling 12- to 18-month sanctions relief in exchange for Yongbyon, nuclear freeze: source

WASHINGTON -- The United States is considering offering a 12- to 18-month suspension of certain sanctions on North Korea in exchange for the dismantlement of its main nuclear facility and a freeze of the entire nuclear program, a source close to White House deliberations on North Korea said Thursday.

The potential offer would see the suspension of U.N. Security Council sanctions restricting North Korea's exports of coal and textiles -- a major source of income for the regime -- and mark a compromise between the two countries after the collapse of their second summit in Vietnam in February.

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