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Yonhap News Summary

Yonhap News Summary 13:30 November 19, 2019

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

(2nd LD) N. Korea rejects nuclear talks before U.S. withdraws hostile policy

SEOUL -- North Korea said Tuesday it has no interest in denuclearization negotiations with the United States unless Washington drops its "hostile" policy.

Kim Yong-chol, who formerly led the negotiations as U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's counterpart, issued the statement in response to Sunday's decision by South Korea and the U.S. to postpone military exercises in support of diplomatic efforts to denuclearize the North.

(LEAD) S. Korea-U.S. defense cost-sharing talks end without progress

SEOUL -- South Korea and the United States failed to proceed with the latest round of their defense cost-sharing negotiations "as planned" amid Washington's demand for a sharp increase in Seoul's payments, the foreign ministry here said Tuesday.

After the two-day negotiations, the ministry issued a press release, hinting that the latest talks over the sharing of the cost for stationing the 28,500-strong U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) broke down.

(2nd LD) U.S. appears to be reviewing options for success of N.K. talks: minister

WASHINGTON/SEOUL -- The United States appears to be reviewing various options for the success of denuclearization negotiations with North Korea, Seoul's unification minister said Monday.

Kim Yeon-chul made the remark to reporters after meeting with U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun in Washington. He declined to elaborate.

(LEAD) 2 S. Koreans seized by Houthi rebels in Red Sea: Seoul officials

SEOUL -- Houthi rebels in Yemen seized three boats carrying two South Koreans and 14 others in the Red Sea this week, and all of them have been confirmed to be safe, Seoul's foreign ministry said Tuesday.

The Iran-linked militia captured them and the three vessels -- two tugboats and a drilling rig -- at 3:50 a.m. (Korea time) on Monday in waters about 15 miles west of Yemen's Kamaran Island. They were on the way to the Berbera port in Somalia after departing from Jizan, Saudi Arabia.

1 missing crew member discovered after ship catches fire in waters off Jeju Island

JEJU -- Rescue workers discovered what's believed to be one of 12 people aboard a ship that caught fire Tuesday in waters west off South Korea's southern island of Jeju, the Coast Guard said.

A fire broke out on the 25-ton fishing vessel at around 7:09 a.m. in waters some 76 kilometers west of a small island that is located near Jeju Island, according to the maritime police.

Weak global recovery to weigh on S. Korean economy in 2020: Moody's

SEOUL -- The South Korean economy, along with many of its leading corporations, will continue to face headwinds next year due to weak economic growth and trade tensions, global rating agency Moody's Investors Service said Tuesday.

"Our outlook is negative. The overall profitability of export-dependent companies deteriorated in 2019 due to a global economic slowdown, but their financial stability weakened as they continue to maintain sizable investment," said Chris Park, associate managing director of corporate finance group at Moody's.

(LEAD) N.K. leader inspects fishery stations, bristles at slower construction

SEOUL -- North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has inspected fishery stations, lashing out at the slower-than-expected construction of a processing plant necessary to supply food to the people, Pyongyang's state media reported Tuesday.

Kim gave "field guidance to the August 25 Fishery Station of the Korean People's Army (KPA) and the newly-built Thongchon Fish-processing Station," according to the Korean Central News Agency.

(News Focus) Hectic diplomacy between defense chiefs amid dimmed hopes to save GSOMIA

BANGKOK -- The defense ministers of South Korea and Japan huddled together behind the scenes in Bangkok this week, spurring speculation that the two countries are making last-ditch efforts to save their soon-to-expire military intelligence-sharing pact.

South Korean Defense Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo and his Japanese counterpart, Taro Kono, were in the Thai capital for a regional defense ministers' meeting, just several days before the General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) expires at midnight Friday.

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