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Yonhap News Summary

Politics 13:34 August 14, 2019

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

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Moon vows to intensify int'l campaign for honor of 'comfort women'

SEOUL -- President Moon Jae-in said Wednesday his government will step up efforts to enhance international awareness of the issue of Korean women systematically forced to serve as sex slaves for Japanese troops during World War II.

"The government will do its best to restore the dignity and honor of the victims of the Japanese military 'comfort women,'" Moon said in a message to mark the memorial day for the victims.

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S. Korea to increase spending to build independent, tech-based defense capabilities

SEOUL -- South Korea plans to increase defense spending by an average of 7.1 percent each year over the next five years to beef up self-reliant capabilities amid evolving missiles threats from North Korea, the defense ministry said Wednesday.

North Korea has apparently been focusing on the modernization of its conventional weapons by test-firing short-range ballistic missiles, including its version of the Iskander, in recent weeks.

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Civic groups to hold anti-Japanese rallies on Liberation Day

SEOUL -- Local civil and labor groups plan to hold several anti-Japanese rallies in central Seoul on Thursday as the nation celebrates the 74th anniversary of Korea's liberation from Japanese colonial rule.

The protest rallies, timed for the Aug. 15 National Liberation Day, will be mostly intended to condemn the government of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for its export restrictions targeting South Korea, according to organizers Wednesday.

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Seoul commemorates int'l memorial day for 'comfort women'

SEOUL -- South Korea on Wednesday commemorated International Memorial Day for Comfort Women amid rising diplomatic and trade tensions between Seoul and Tokyo.

The government-led national ceremony was held at the Kim Koo Museum and Library in central Seoul, with about 300 people from all walks of life, including elderly women sexually enslaved by the imperial Japanese army.

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(LEAD) Three killed, three hurt in elevator crash at construction site

SEOUL -- Three workers were killed and three others injured in an elevator crash at a construction site in the eastern city of Sokcho on Wednesday, fire authorities said.

An elevator with four workers plummeted from the 15th floor at an apartment building construction site in the city, 210 kilometers east of Seoul, at 8:28 a.m., firefighters said.

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S. Korea begins process to remove Japan's trusted trade partner status

SEOUL -- South Korea's trade ministry on Wednesday started the process to drop Japan from its list of trusted trading partners, in a tit-for-tat move amid the growing trade row between the two Asian neighbors.

Early this week, the South Korean government decided to revamp the categorization of its trading partners into three groups from the current two, placing Tokyo in the in-between group.

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(2nd LD) Job additions hit 18-month high in July

SEOUL -- The number of new jobs in South Korea rose to their highest in 18 months in July on the back of a rise in employment in the health care, food and leisure-related sectors, with the jobless rate up slightly to 3.9 percent, government data showed Wednesday.

The number of employed people in Asia's fourth-largest economy came to 27.38 million, up 299,000 from a year earlier, according to the data from Statistics Korea.

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Korean EV battery makers set to face fierce competition in Europe in 2025: KITA

SEOUL -- South Korea's electric vehicle (EV) battery makers are expected to face fierce competition in Europe in the upcoming years as European companies are ramping up efforts to expand their clout in the fast-growing sector, a trade organization here said Wednesday.

LG Chem Ltd., Samsung SDI Co., and SK Innovation Co. -- South Korea's major EV battery makers -- are maintaining a staunch presence in the EV battery supply chain in Europe with their massive investments in the continent, according to the Korea International Trade Association (KITA).

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U.S. concerned by N.K. missile development: senior official

WASHINGTON -- The United States is concerned by North Korea's missile development and will continue to call out the regime for its missile tests, a senior U.S. official said Tuesday.

Andrea Thompson, under secretary of state for arms control and international security, was commenting in light of North Korea's five rounds of short-range ballistic missile tests since July 25.
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