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Yonhap News Summary

Politics 13:30 August 28, 2019

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

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(2nd LD) Hyundai Motor union OKs tentative wage deal without strike

SEOUL -- Unionized workers at Hyundai Motor Co. have reached a tentative wage and collective bargaining agreement, averting strikes for the first time in eight years, the company and the union said Wednesday.

"The union has decided to accept the company's revised proposals as uncertainties in business environments grow further due to uncertain political and economic situation stemming from an escalating U.S.-China trade war and Japan's restrictions on exports (of key materials) to Korea," union spokesman Hong Jae-gwan told Yonhap News Agency over the phone.

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(LEAD) Seoul to spend 5 tln won for parts, materials industries amid trade row with Japan

SEOUL -- South Korea plans to inject more than 5 trillion won (US$4.1 billion) into its support of the local parts and material industries by 2022 in a bid to tackle Japan's export curbs against the South, cut dependence on Japanese imports and boost localization, the industry ministry said Wednesday.

The move is aimed at stabilizing supplies of parts, materials and equipment, and spurring their localization, as South Korea seeks to reduce heavy reliance on imports of Japanese materials.

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(LEAD) S. Korea calls in Japanese ambassador to protest removal from whitelist

SEOUL -- The foreign ministry on Wednesday called in Japan's top envoy in Seoul to protest Tokyo's official removal of South Korea from a list of favored trade partners, a move that deepened a row between the two countries over trade and wartime history.

Tokyo put into force its decision to drop South Korea from the "whitelist" despite Seoul's repeated calls to stop such export curbs, which are seen as political retaliation for last year's South Korean Supreme Court rulings against Japanese firms over colonial-era forced labor.

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Biz sentiment for Sept remains weak: survey

SEOUL -- Business sentiment here remains weak, due mainly to growing uncertainties over escalating trade tensions, including Japan's export curbs against South Korea, a local think tank said Wednesday.

The business survey index (BSI) of the country's top 600 companies by sales came to 87.8 for next month, up from 80.7 this month, according to the Korea Economic Research Institute (KERI).

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Most bond experts expect BOK's rate freeze: poll

SEOUL -- A majority of bond mavens in South Korea expect the central bank to freeze its key interest rate this week due to the country's weak currency, a poll showed Wednesday.

According to the survey of 200 bond experts by the Korea Financial Investment Association, 78 percent of respondents said the Bank of Korea (BOK) will likely hold its policy rate steady at a policy meeting slated for Friday.

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(News Focus) N.K.'s new rocket launcher to further complicate S. Korean artillery, missile defense tasks

SEOUL -- The "new super-large multiple rocket launcher" that North Korea claimed to have successfully test-fired last week marks a key evolution of its tactical weapons system and could challenge South Korea's anti-artillery and missile defense capabilities, experts said Wednesday.

In the latest in a series of weapons tests in recent months, North Korea fired what it dubbed a "newly developed super-large multiple rocket launcher" off its east coast on Saturday under the guidance of leader Kim Jong-un.

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(LEAD) Pompeo cites N. Korea's 'rogue' behavior as talks stall

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo cited North Korea's "rogue" behavior on Tuesday as negotiations on dismantling the country's nuclear weapons program have continued to stall.

In a speech to American veterans, the top U.S. diplomat touted the values of "Americanism" and how it means telling the "truth" about the challenges the nation faces.

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(LEAD) U.S. offers to help resolve Seoul-Tokyo row after 'whitelist' removal

WASHINGTON -- The United States will do what it can to help South Korea and Japan resolve their differences, the U.S. State Department said Tuesday in response to Tokyo's latest trade restrictions against Seoul.

Japan decided early this month to remove South Korea from its "whitelist" of trusted trading partners, and the decision took effect Wednesday (Seoul time), adding to the already high tensions in their tit-for-tat row stemming from differences over their shared history.
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