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Yonhap News Summary

Yonhap News Summary 13:32 August 09, 2019

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

(2nd LD) Esper: U.S. willing to engage diplomatically with N.K., but sanctions will remain

SEOUL -- The United States is willing to engage diplomatically with North Korea to make progress in efforts to denuclearize the communist nation but will continue sanctions on Pyongyang until the regime gives up its nuclear program, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Friday.

Esper made the remark at the start of talks with South Korean Defense Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo in Seoul, stressing the importance of close and continued coordination between the two allies on the issue of North Korea.

(2nd LD) Moon replaces eight minister-level officials, names new ambassador to U.S.

SEOUL -- President Moon Jae-in carried out his first Cabinet shake-up in five months Friday amid a host of troubles in state affairs, from North Korea's resumed rocket launches to a trade fight with Japan.

He also picked Lee Soo-hyuck, a diplomat-turned-lawmaker, as new ambassador to the United States, as Seoul has come under growing pressure to increase its financial support for the U.S. Forces Korea and play a bigger role in regional and international security.

(LEAD) (profile) Ex-top negotiator for N.K. talks named S. Korea's envoy to U.S.

SEOUL -- Rep. Lee Soo-hyuck of the ruling Democratic Party, tapped to be the new ambassador to the United States, is a retired career diplomat best known for his role in the six-party talks on North Korea's nuclear program.

Lee, 70, served as South Korea's first chief delegate to six-party talks involving the two Koreas, the U.S., China, Japan and Russia when the forum was launched in 2003 with the goal of resolving the North Korean nuclear issue.

(LEAD) U.S. says Trump has been clear on wanting allies to contribute more to defense

WASHINGTON -- U.S. President Donald Trump has been clear that he wants U.S. allies to contribute more to shared defense, the State Department said Thursday, indicating South Korea will not be an exception to the rule.

South Korea has come under growing pressure from the U.S. to pay more for the upkeep of 28,500 American troops stationed in the country.

(LEAD) Fitch maintains S. Korea's rating at 'AA-'; outlook stable

SEJONG -- Global credit appraiser Fitch Ratings said Friday that it has reaffirmed its rating on South Korea at "AA-" with a stable rating outlook.

Fitch's rating for Asia's fourth largest economy has been AA-, the fourth-highest level on its sovereign ratings table, since 2012, when the rating agency upgraded it from A+.

(LEAD) N. Korea to hold parliament session this month

SEOUL -- North Korea's rubber-stamp parliament will hold its second meeting of the year later this month, state media reported Friday, spurring speculation about whether key policy changes will be announced during the session.

The 14th Supreme People's Assembly (SPA) will meet in Pyongyang on Aug. 29, according to the North's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA). It will be the second time the legislature will have met after 687 new deputies were elected in nationwide polls in March.

Olympic short track champion Lim Hyo-jun banned for 1 year for sexually harassing male teammate

SEOUL -- Olympic short track speed skating champion Lim Hyo-jun has been suspended for one year for sexually harassing a male teammate.

The Korea Skating Union (KSU) reached the decision Thursday evening, saying Lim, who won a gold medal in the men's 1,500m at the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics, will be banned from all skating-related activities until Aug. 7, 2020.

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