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Yonhap News Summary

Yonhap News Summary 17:07 November 06, 2019

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

(LEAD) S. Korea, U.S. agree to bolster economic ties for regional initiatives

SEOUL -- South Korea and the United States agreed Wednesday to forge a broader strategic economic partnership in line with their regional policy initiatives for Southeast Asia and the Indo-Pacific region, the foreign ministry said.

The two sides reached the agreement during the fourth session of the Senior Economic Dialogue (SED) in Seoul, led by Second Vice Foreign Minister Lee Tae-ho and Keith Krach, undersecretary for economic growth, energy and the environment at the State Department.

(4th LD) Senior U.S. diplomat calls recent Moon-Abe meeting 'encouraging' sign

SEOUL -- The top American diplomat for East Asia on Wednesday described this week's meeting between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as an "encouraging" sign in fence-mending efforts between Seoul and Tokyo.

Assistant Secretary of State David Stilwell made the remarks after paying courtesy calls on Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha and Vice Foreign Minister Cho Sei-young during his trip here seen as an effort to help defuse tensions over trade and history between Washington's two Asian allies.

(LEAD) Stilwell says he had 'fantastic discussions' with S. Korea amid looming GSOMIA expiry

SEOUL -- The top American diplomat for East Asia said Wednesday that he had "fantastic discussions" with South Korean officials amid speculation that the meetings likely were focused on a soon-to-expire military-information-sharing pact between Seoul and Tokyo.

Assistant Secretary of State David Stilwell made the remark upon arrival at the defense ministry when a reporter asked if he had discussed the General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) during the meetings with Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha and Vice Foreign Minister Cho Se-young earlier in the day.

(3rd LD) S. Korea proposes sending delegation to inspect facilities at Mount Kumgang

SEOUL -- South Korea has proposed sending a delegation to inspect its long-abandoned facilities at North Korea's Mount Kumgang, the unification ministry said Wednesday, after Pyongyang rejected Seoul's offer to hold face-to-face talks on the fate of the suspended joint tour program.

In the proposal sent Tuesday, the ministry said the delegation will be comprised of government officials and business people. The move appears aimed at seeking face-to-face contacts with the North to discuss the fate of the tour program to the mountain on its scenic east coast.

Over 800 North Koreans have defected to S. Korea this year

SEOUL -- Over 800 North Koreans have defected to South Korea so far in 2019, government data showed Wednesday, indicating their annual figure will be similar to a level recorded a year earlier.

A total of 828 North Koreans defected to the South during the January-October period, according to the data provided by the unification ministry handling inter-Korean affairs.

(LEAD) S. Korea adopts price ceiling on privately built flats

SEOUL -- South Korea on Wednesday adopted a scheme to cap presale prices of privately built apartments in its extended efforts to stabilize real estate markets.

Seoul revised related laws last month to execute the "presale price cap system" for apartments to be built by private builders amid signs of escalating home prices.

(LEAD) Seoul stocks hit 5-month high on trade hopes, won gains

SEOUL -- Seoul stocks ended higher to close at a five-month high Wednesday as the United States and China inch closer to a trade deal. The Korean won rose against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 1.51 points, or 0.07 percent, to close at 2,144.15, the highest in nearly six months. Trading volume was moderate at 403 million shares worth 5.5 trillion won (US$4.8 billion), with gainers exceeding losers 461 to 350.

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