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Yonhap News Summary

Yonhap News Summary 13:30 August 01, 2019

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

(2nd LD) Top diplomats of S. Korea, Japan hold talks in Bangkok amid trade row

BANGKOK -- The top diplomats of South Korea and Japan held bilateral talks in Thailand on Thursday, the eve of Tokyo's highly expected decision on whether to strip Seoul of a preferential trade status.

Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha and her Japanese counterpart, Taro Kono, shook hands without any exchange of words, with their faces imbued with unusual seriousness -- a sign of the heightened tensions between the two neighbors.

(2nd LD) N. Korean soldier expresses desire to defect after crossing land border: JCS

SEOUL -- A North Korean soldier crossed the inter-Korean land border and expressed a desire to defect to South Korea, the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said Thursday.

The man was spotted moving southward along the Imjin River after crossing the Military Demarcation Line inside the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) in the central part of the inter-Korean border at around 11:38 p.m. on Wednesday, according to the JCS.

(3rd LD) N. Korea says it tested new rocket system, not missiles

SEOUL -- North Korea said Thursday it tested a new rocket system in launches conducted the previous day, raising questions about South Korea's assessment that the communist nation is believed to have fired short-range ballistic missiles.

Leader Kim Jong-un "guided a test-fire of a newly developed large-caliber multiple launch guided rocket system on July 31," the Korean Central News Agency said.

(2nd LD) Exports down for 8th straight month amid trade dispute, chip slump

SEJONG -- South Korea's exports decreased 11 percent in July from a year earlier, extending their on-year fall to an eighth consecutive month, amid the drawn-out trade dispute between the United States and China, and a decline in prices of semiconductors, data showed Thursday.

Outbound shipments came to US$46.14 billion for July, down from the $51.8 billion tallied a year earlier, according to the data compiled by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.

S. Korea to invest 42 tln won to boost cargo handling capacity

SEJONG -- South Korea on Thursday unveiled a plan to inject 41.8 trillion won (US$35.2 billion) by 2040 to boost the country's cargo-handling capacity at 12 ports across the country

The investment would increase the capacity to 1.85 billion tons per year in 2040 from the 1.32 billion tons in 2017, according to the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries.

KOSPI dips on trade, earnings woes in July

SEOUL -- South Korea's benchmark stock index tumbled more than 4 percent in July on trade tensions and weak corporate earnings, ranking as one of the worst performers among Group of 20 countries, data showed Thursday.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) closed at 2,038.68 on Tuesday, down a whopping 4.32 percent from end-June, according to the data by the Korea Exchange.

(LEAD) BOK says may consider further rate cut amid looming uncertainty

SEOUL -- South Korea's central bank said Thursday it may consider further slashing its policy rate to help boost economic growth should conditions worsen amid escalating trade tension with Japan.

Last month, the Bank of Korea cut the benchmark rate by 25 basis points to 1.50 percent, citing slower-than-anticipated growth.

Doosan Heavy plans to raise 250 bln won via ABS sale: sources

SEOUL -- Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction Co., South Korea's top power equipment maker, plans to raise 250 billion won (US$210 million) by selling asset-backed securities (ABS) to finance its operations, sources here said Thursday.

Doosan Heavy recently has consulted with the state-run Korea Development Bank (KDB) to sell its accounts receivables-backed securities, according to the sources.

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