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Yonhap News Summary

National 13:57 November 27, 2019

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

(2nd LD) S. Korea, Mekong nations pick 7 priority cooperation sectors in Busan summit

BUSAN -- The leaders of South Korea and the five Mekong nations agreed Wednesday to prioritize cooperation in seven fields, stepping up efforts for synergy between Seoul's development experience and Mekong's huge growth potential.

The seven sectors are culture and tourism, human resources development, agriculture and rural development, infrastructure, information and communication technology (ICT), environment and non-traditional security challenges, according to a joint statement issued after the inaugural Mekong-Republic of Korea Summit in Busan, some 450 kilometers southeast of Seoul.

(LEAD) Hyundai Motor to build new headquarters by 2026

SEOUL -- Hyundai Motor Group said Wednesday it will complete the construction of its new headquarters in Seoul by 2026 after breaking ground early next year.

On Tuesday, the Seoul metropolitan government gave permission for the construction of the 105-story Global Business Center (GBC) in southern Seoul after Hyundai Motor agreed to present measures that will ensure the building does not interrupt the Air Force's flight operations.

The permission comes after Hyundai, the Seoul city government and the defense ministry signed an agreement on the measures and required costs that will be spent by the carmaker.

Childbirths down 7.5 pct in September

SEJONG -- The number of newborns in South Korea fell 7.5 percent in September from a year earlier, government data showed Wednesday, the latest data underscoring the low birthrate that has plagued Asia's fourth-largest economy for more than a decade.

The data compiled by Statistics Korea showed that 24,123 babies were born in September, compared with 26,066 babies tallied in the same month of 2018.

It marks the lowest number of newborns for any September since 1981, when the statistics agency started compiling data on newborns on a monthly basis.

N. Korea remains mum on S. Korea's protest over recent firing drills

SEOUL -- North Korea has given no response to South Korea's protest over its recent artillery firing drills on a border island in the Yellow Sea in violation of the inter-Korean military pact, officials said Wednesday.

On Saturday, the communist country carried out coastal artillery firing drills on Changrin Islet, just north of the Northern Limit Line (NLL), the de facto inter-Korean maritime border, according to the defense ministry. It was the ninth anniversary of the North's shelling of the South Korean border island of Yeonpyeong, which killed two Marines and two civilians.

(LEAD) Speaker Moon pushes for bill to resolve Japanese wartime forced labor issue

SEOUL -- National Assembly Speaker Moon Hee-sang has unveiled a new idea for resolving the issue of Japanese wartime forced labor as he pushes for a bill to create a foundation funded by companies, governments and citizens of South Korea and Japan.

The move came amid expectations that Seoul and Tokyo will ramp up efforts to resolve the issue after the South decided last week to "conditionally" suspend the termination of its military intelligence-sharing pact with Japan.

N.K. has 'unwavering will' to develop its own tourist zone at Mt. Kumgang: propaganda outlet

SEOUL -- A North Korean propaganda outlet said Wednesday it is the "unwavering will" of Pyongyang to destroy all South Korean-built facilities at the Mount Kumgang resort on its east coast and construct a new international tourist destination of its own.

The article from Uriminzokkiri, one of the North's propaganda websites, came as South and North Korea remain far apart over Pyongyang's demand last month to remove all South Korean-built facilities at the scenic resort, in an apparent threat to end their long-suspended joint tour program.

U.S. envoy for N.K. expected to move to new role

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Special Envoy for North Korea Mark Lambert is expected to move to a new role within the State Department next month, a diplomatic source said Tuesday.

The move comes as denuclearization negotiations between Washington and Pyongyang have stalled since the no-deal summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in February.

Lambert was part of the U.S. delegation to the last round of working-level talks with North Korea in Sweden in October.

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