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Yonhap News Summary

Diplomacy 13:30 October 24, 2019

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

(2nd LD) Moon raises need to improve frayed ties at early date in letter to Abe

SEOUL/TOKYO -- South Korean President Moon Jae-in raised the need Thursday to improve the frayed ties with Japan at an early date in his personal letter to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

The letter was delivered by Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon to Abe during their 21-minute meeting in Tokyo held amid hopes of a breakthrough in mending the relations over Japan's wartime forced labor.

(3rd LD) S. Korean economy continues to grow in Q3, but falls short of expectation

SEOUL -- The South Korean economy continued to grow at a steady pace in the third quarter, partly helped by increased government spending and a slight rebound in exports from three months earlier, central bank data showed Thursday.

In the three months ended Sept. 30, the country's real gross domestic product (GDP) gained 0.4 percent from the previous quarter, according to the advance data from the Bank of Korea (BOK).

(2nd LD) N.K. to see how 'wisely' Washington acts through year-end deadline: official

SEOUL -- A former top North Korean nuclear envoy said Thursday he hopes to see the United States act "wisely" through the end of the year, apparently referring to the deadline Pyongyang set for Washington to come up with a new proposal in their denuclearization negotiations.

In a statement, Kim Kye-gwan, a foreign ministry adviser, also voiced hope that "special" relations between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and U.S. President Donald Trump will create a "motive force" to remove challenges between the two countries going forward.

Ex-justice minister's wife arrested, prosecution emboldened amid reform pressure

SEOUL -- The wife of former Justice Minister Cho Kuk was arrested Thursday in a court decision that is expected to add traction to the prosecution's probe into charges over her daughter's college admission and a financial investment.

It will likely give additional ammunition to state prosecutors apparently zeroing in on Cho, a close aide to President Moon Jae-in and an architect of far-reaching prosecution reform plans.

(2nd LD) SK hynix posts worst profit in over 3 years in Q3 on weak memory chips

SEOUL -- SK hynix Inc. said Thursday its net profit for the third quarter dipped to the lowest level in more than three years on weak memory chip prices and global demand, but said it expected the memory industry to recover next year on adoption of 5G smartphones.

The net profit for the world's No. 2 memory chip producer plunged 89 percent to 495.5 billion won (US$423.1 billion) in the July-September period from a year ago, the company said in a regulatory filing.

(LEAD) Korea, U.S. hold new round of defense cost-sharing talks in Honolulu

SEOUL -- South Korea and the United States held a fresh round of negotiations in Hawaii this week on the sharing of the cost for the upkeep of American troops on the peninsula, Seoul's foreign ministry said Thursday.

The two-day talks began in Honolulu on Wednesday (local time) with both sides bracing for yet another grueling tug of war over how much South Korea should pay next year and beyond for the stationing of the 28,500-strong U.S. Forces Korea (USFK).

S. Korea calls for Russia's measures to prevent air defense zone intrusions

SEOUL -- South Korea called on Russia to take measures to prevent its military aircraft from entering Seoul's air defense identification zone without prior notification, the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said.

The South made the request during a joint military committee meeting that began Wednesday, a day after six Russian military planes breached the Korean Air Defense Identification Zone (KADIZ) over the East Sea four times.

S. Korea confirms 14th outbreak of ASF from wild boars near border with N. Korea

SEOUL -- South Korea's quarantine authorities on Thursday confirmed two more outbreaks of African swine fever (ASF) from wild boars near the border with North Korea, increasing the total number of cases to 14.

The latest confirmed cases were reported within a civilian control line near the border, according to the Ministry of Environment.

N. Korea yet to offer talks on removal of S. Korean assets at Mt. Kumgang: official

SEOUL -- North Korea has not made an official offer yet to South Korea for talks on its decision to remove South Korea-built facilities at the country's Mount Kumgang resort, a unification ministry official said Thursday.

On Wednesday, state media reported that leader Kim Jong-un ordered the removal of all the "unpleasant-looking" buildings through an "agreement with the relevant unit of the south side," stressing the North should not rely on the South for a now-suspended joint tour program to the scenic mountain.

Moon offers closer ties with Spain on digital economy, eco-friendly energy

SEOUL -- President Moon Jae-in proposed Thursday that South Korea and Spain rev up partnerships in responding to the Fourth Industrial Revolution and climate change, saying the "true friends" have much in common.

Moon stressed potential synergy from the expansion of bilateral cooperation as he attended a South Korea-Spain business forum here, together with Spanish King Felipe VI.

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