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Yonhap News Summary

Yonhap News Summary 17:20 August 01, 2019

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

(5th LD) Top diplomats of S. Korea, Japan fail to defuse trade, diplomatic tensions

BANGKOK -- South Korea and Japan failed to defuse a deepening trade and diplomatic row on Thursday, the eve of Tokyo's widely expected decision to strip Seoul of a preferential trade status in a move sure to aggravate the already high tensions.

After the talks with her Japanese counterpart, Taro Kono, in Thailand ended with little progress, Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha warned that Seoul could reconsider a rare line of bilateral security cooperation if Tokyo presses ahead to remove South Korea from its "whitelist" of trusted trade partners.

U.S. ambassador optimistic about resuming nuclear talks with N.K.

SEOUL -- U.S. Ambassador to South Korea Harry Harris said Thursday he remains optimistic that denuclearization talks between Washington and Pyongyang will resume soon.

"I think there's reason for optimism here ... I think there's every hope that we'll have some talk soon," U.S. Ambassador to South Korea Harry Harris said in an interview with local radio station TBS.

(2nd LD) S. Korea spy chief advises caution over possible scrapping of intel-sharing pact with Japan

SEOUL -- South Korea needs to be cautious about its possible scrapping of a military information-sharing pact with Japan despite an escalating trade row with Tokyo, Seoul's spy chief was quoted as saying Thursday.

Suh Hoon, head of the National Intelligence Service (NIS), cast a negative view of South Korea terminating the pact in response to Japan's retaliatory trade measures over a historical issue when he attended a meeting of the parliamentary intelligence committee.

(LEAD) Seoul stocks sink to 7-month low on Fed disappointment, trade row

SEOUL -- South Korean stocks plunged to a seven-month low Thursday as investors were disappointed over the smaller-than-expected rate cut by the U.S. Federal Reserve, along with Seoul's growing trade row with Japan. The Korean won fell against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) moved down 7.21 points, or 0.36 percent, to 2,017.34. Trading volume was low at 455 million shares worth 4.36 trillion won (US$3.66 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 584 to 252.

(3rd LD) N. Korean soldier expresses desire to defect after crossing border: JCS

SEOUL -- A North Korean soldier crossed the inter-Korean border over a river that flows between the two Koreas and expressed a desire to defect to the South, the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said Thursday.

The man was spotted being carried southward by the Imjin River across 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.

Korean Air to place smaller jets on Japanese routes amdi trade row

SEOUL -- Korean Air Lines Co., South Korea's flag carrier, said Thursday it will begin placing smaller jets on several Japanese routes this month amid escalating trade tensions with Japan.

The move is part of Korean Air's extended efforts to respond to a fall in Japan-bound routes after the neighbor implemented tighter restrictions on exports of key materials to Korea, in apparent retaliation against a series of South Korean court rulings last year over Japan's wartime forced labor.

Regulator vows financial support for firms hit by Japan's export curbs

SEOUL -- South Korea's financial regulator said Thursday it will draw up measures to provide financial support for companies hurt by export curbs by Japan.

Japan, which tightened exports of key materials to South Korea on July 4 in apparent retaliation over compensation for wartime forced labor, has threatened to remove Seoul from a list of trusted export destinations as early as Friday.

Parliamentary panel adopts resolution over air intrusion, territorial claim over Dokdo

SEOUL -- A parliamentary panel on Thursday adopted a resolution condemning an air incursion by Russian and Chinese warplanes and Japan's territorial claim to the South's Dokdo islets.

The foreign affairs committee adopted the resolution by consensus to enable it to be put to vote at a plenary meeting set for later in the day.

S. Korea has more missiles than N. Korea, plans further beef-up: military officials

SEOUL -- South Korea possesses a larger arsenal of attack and interceptor missiles than North Korea, and has been working to boost such capabilities to better counter evolving threats from the North, military authorities said Thursday.

Concerns have flared anew over North Korea's missile capabilities after it was presumed to have successfully test-fired a new type of short-range ballistic missiles, or its version of Russia's Iskander, codenamed KN-23, last month.

(2nd LD) Delta increases stake in Korean Air's parent firm

SEOUL -- Delta Air Lines, Inc. said Thursday it has increased its stake in Hanjin KAL, the parent company of Korean Air Lines Co., in what it called a just investment.

In a report to the bourse operator, the Korea Exchange, Delta said it increased its stake in Hanjin KAL to 5.13 percent from 4.3 percent.

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