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Yonhap News Summary

Politics 13:30 August 21, 2019

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

(2nd LD) Biegun says will not take up ambassadorship in Russia

SEOUL -- U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun on Wednesday rejected media speculation about his possible ambassadorship in Russia, pledging to "remain focused" on making progress in nuclear talks with North Korea.

Biegun made the remarks after his talks with South Korean counterpart Lee Do-hoon in Seoul, amid growing expectations that Washington and Pyongyang would resume their working-level negotiations on the North's nuclear disarmament.

Justice minister nominee in trouble in face of snowballing scandals

SEOUL -- Justice Minister nominee Cho Kuk faces snowballing corruption and fraud allegations involving his family, with political parties bickering over whether he is qualified to lead the law ministry.

A series of scandals ranging from academics-related allegations about Cho's daughter and his dubious hefty investment in a private equity fund to his previous involvement in a left-leaning group have made headlines since his nomination in a Cabinet shakeup on Aug. 9.

(2nd LD) S. Korea's exports set to fall for 9th straight month in August

SEJONG -- South Korea's exports are set to extend their slump to a ninth month in August, hurt by a decline in outbound shipments of semiconductors, data showed Wednesday.

The country's exports declined 13.3 percent in the first 20 days of August from a year earlier to US$24.9 billion, according to the data compiled by the Korea Customs Service.

S. Korea to cut energy consumption 14 pct by 2030

SEOUL -- South Korea plans to cut its total power consumption 14 percent by 2030 by improving the energy efficiency of local factories, buildings and cars, the industry ministry said Wednesday.

Under the plans, the country aims to save 10.8 trillion won (US$8.94 billion) on energy imports in 2030, while reducing some 29.6 million tonne of oil equivalent (TOE) over the period, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.

Top diplomats of S. Korea, Japan to hold talks amid high tensions over trade, history

SEOUL/BEIJING -- The top diplomats of South Korea and Japan were set to hold bilateral talks in Beijing on Wednesday as Seoul is considering whether to renew a military information-sharing pact with Tokyo amid badly frayed relations between the two countries.

Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha and her Japanese counterpart, Taro Kono, plan to meet one-on-one on the sidelines of a trilateral meeting with their Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, in the afternoon.

Top 3 memory chip makers' sales fall over 30 pct in H1

SEOUL -- The world's big three memory chip makers saw their revenues decline over 30 percent in the first half of the year due to weak demand and steep price declines following a two-year boom, a report said Wednesday.

The Big 3 memory suppliers -- Samsung Electronics and SK hynix of South Korea and Micron of the United States -- grappled with slumping sales in the first six months of the year compared with a year ago amid weak memory chip markets, according to the report from IC Insights.

(News Focus) Inter-Korean relations in limbo despite end of allies' joint drill

SEOUL -- North Korea is expected to keep tensions with South Korea high even after the end of the South's joint military exercise with the United States as Pyongyang wants to use inter-Korean tensions to extract concessions from the U.S. in nuclear talks, experts said.

The communist regime has significantly ramped up pressure on Seoul since late July over the allies' combined exercise, saying it won't talk with the South again and even denouncing President Moon Jae-in as an "impudent guy" and "funny man."

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