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Yonhap News Summary

Yonhap News Summary 13:30 July 31, 2019

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

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(5th LD) N. Korea fires 2 short-range ballistic missiles off east coast: JCS

SEOUL/WASHINGTON -- North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles off its east coast on Wednesday, South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said, the second such launch in less than a week.

The first missile was launched at 5:06 a.m., and the second at 5:27 a.m., from the Kalma area near the North's eastern port of Wonsan, according to the JCS.

Both are estimated to have flown about 250 kilometers at an approximate altitude of 30 km, the JCS said, adding that the South Korean and U.S. militaries are analyzing more details.

The launches come six days after North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles from the same area into the East Sea in its first provocation since May. Those missiles flew some 600 kilometers at an altitude of around 50 km and were identified as "KN-23," or the North's version of Russia's Iskander ballistic missile.

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(3rd LD) Samsung eyes chip recovery after downbeat Q2 earnings

SEOUL -- Samsung Electronics Co. reported Wednesday its net profit more than halved in the second quarter from a year earlier due to weak memory chip prices, but it expected a gradual recovery in demand down the road.

The net profit for the world's largest chip and smartphone maker came to 5.18 trillion won (US$4.4 billion) in the April-June period, a 53.1 percent fall from a year earlier, the company said in a regulatory filing.

Its operating profit plunged 55.6 percent on-year to 6.59 trillion won, and sales slipped 4 percent to 56.1 trillion won in the three-month period, the firm said.

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Cheong Wa Dae convenes NSC meeting over N.K. missile test

SEOUL -- The presidential office Cheong Wa Dae on Wednesday convened a National Security Council (NSC) session over North Korea's firing of short-range ballistic missiles.

Earlier in the day, the North fired two ballistic missiles off its east coast, according to South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff. They flew some 250 kilometers, marking the second such launch in less than a week.

Chung Eui-yong, the national security adviser, presided over the meeting of the NSC standing committee, according to Cheong Wa Dae.

"At an emergency NSC meeting, North Korea's missile launches and the current security situation will be discussed," Ko Min-jung, presidential spokesperson, told a press briefing.

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(2nd LD) FM Kang departs for Thailand to attend ASEAN meetings amid trade row with Japan

SEOUL -- Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha left for Thailand on Wednesday to attend a series of bilateral and multilateral talks amid a trade row with Japan and limited progress in efforts to resume nuclear talks between Washington and Pyongyang.

Kang plans to attend the annual gatherings involving the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Bangkok, such as the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), which are slated to take place from Thursday to Saturday.

The minister will use the regional meetings to highlight the importance of free trade principles as part of Seoul's diplomacy to stop Japan's recent export restrictions and its consideration of additional steps, such as taking South Korea off its list of trusted trade partners, officials said.

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(LEAD) Pompeo says he plans to meet S. Korean, Japanese ministers in Thailand

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Tuesday he plans to meet with his South Korean and Japanese counterparts in Bangkok this week amid a simmering trade row between the two Asian nations.

Pompeo told reporters flying with him to Thailand for a regional forum that he will meet separately and then trilaterally with South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-hwa and Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono.

"We will encourage them to find a path forward," Pompeo said, according to a transcript released by the State Department.

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(2nd LD) New U.S. defense chief to visit S. Korea in Aug. amid reports on burden-sharing talks

WASHINGTON/SEOUL -- U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper will visit South Korea next month as part of a trip to Asia, the Pentagon said Tuesday.

Esper's trip comes as the United States reportedly wants Seoul to increase its contribution to the upkeep of 28,500 American troops stationed in its Asian ally's territory.

The new defense secretary, who took office last week, will leave Friday on a trip to Hawaii, Sydney, Auckland, Tokyo, Ulaanbaatar and Seoul, the Pentagon said in a press release.

During his stay in Seoul, Esper will meet with South Korean Defense Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo on Aug. 9 and discuss key issues related to their alliance, including the security situation on the Korean Peninsula, denuclearization and the transfer of wartime operational control, according to Seoul's defense ministry.

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(LEAD) Industrial output down 0.7 pct on-month in June

SEJONG -- South Korea's industrial output edged down 0.7 percent in June from a month earlier due to decreased production in the service sector, government data showed Wednesday.

The data compiled by Statistics Korea showed the production in the service sector declined 1 percent in June from a month earlier, while the output of semiconductors rose 4.6 percent on-month.

From a year earlier, industrial output fell 1.1 percent.

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Seoul shares trade lower late Wednesday morning

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- South Korean shares traded lower late Wednesday morning as investors took to the sidelines amid the growing trade row between Seoul and Tokyo, with a much-awaited rate cut by the U.S. Federal Reserve.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) fell 23.69 points, or 1.16 percent, to 2,014.99 as of 11:20 a.m.

The Japanese government is widely expected to deliver a final decision on expanding export regulations against Asia's No. 4 economy this week at the earliest, on top of the existing export curb on three industrial materials vital for the semiconductor and display industries.


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