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Yonhap News Summary

Defense 13:30 August 13, 2019

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

(LEAD) New batch of S. Korean troops to deploy to Somali waters amid speculation over Hormuz Strait mission

SEOUL -- South Korea was set to dispatch a fresh batch of troops to the Gulf of Aden on Tuesday for anti-piracy efforts, the Navy said, amid speculation the contingent could also undertake missions in the Strait of Hormuz as part of a U.S.-led coalition.

The 30th batch of the Cheonghae Unit is scheduled to depart the southern port city of Busan later in the day to conduct anti-piracy missions off the coast of Somalia for six months starting in September, according to the Navy.

(LEAD) N. Korean leader promotes scientists for contribution to national defense

SEOUL -- North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has promoted the military ranks of scientists for their contribution to developing new weapons and bolstering national defense, Pyongyang's state media reported Tuesday.

Kim issued an order to promote the ranks of 103 scientists "in the field of national defense science research who have made great contributions to bolstering up the military capabilities for self-defense," according to the Korean Central News Agency.

Spy chiefs of Koreas met secretly in April after no-deal summit breakdown in Hanoi: source

SEOUL -- The top intelligence officials of the two Koreas met secretly in April after the North's spy chief was replaced following February's no-deal summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and U.S. President Donald Trump, a government source confirmed Tuesday.

The meeting between National Intelligence Service Director Suh Hoon and his North Korean counterpart, Jang Kum-chol, came right after Jang took over as chief of the North's United Front Department (UFD), the source said.

1,400th protest rally against Japan's wartime sex slavery set for this week

SEOUL -- The 1,400th weekly protest rally against Japan's wartime sex slavery will take place this week, with more elderly South Korean victims passing away without receiving Tokyo's sincere apology for its atrocities.

Local activists and victims of Japan's sexual slavery have staged street rallies in front of the former compound of the Japanese Embassy in Seoul every Wednesday since January 1992 to demand Tokyo offer a formal apology to former sex slaves, euphemistically called "comfort women."

S. Korea, China, Japan likely to hold foreign ministers' meeting this month: Seoul official

SEOUL -- South Korea, China and Japan are likely to hold a trilateral meeting of their foreign ministers later this month, a Seoul official said Tuesday, despite high tensions between Seoul and Tokyo over a diplomatic and trade row.

Should the meeting take place in China, the chances are high that South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha and her Japanese counterpart Taro Kono will have bilateral talks, the official said, though no final decision has been made yet over either trilateral or bilateral talks.

Tesla launches Model 3 in S. Korea

SEOUL -- U.S. carmaker Tesla Motors Inc. on Tuesday launched the Model 3 in South Korea as it strives to absorb a growing appetite for all-electric vehicles (EVs) here.

The Model 3 sells at the starting price of 52 million won (US$43,000) without the central government's subsidy worth 9 million won. The prices go up depending on options such as color and tires, a Seoul-based Tesla spokeswoman said over the phone.

U.S. prods S. Korea, Japan to seek 'creative' solutions to trade row

WASHINGTON -- The United States maintained Monday that South Korea and Japan need to seek "creative solutions" to their disagreements after Seoul took retaliatory steps for Tokyo's export control measures.

Washington also continues to stand ready to facilitate dialogue between its two Asian allies, a U.S. State Department spokesperson told Yonhap News Agency.

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