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Yonhap News Summary

All News 13:24 January 15, 2020

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

Top diplomats of S. Korea, Japan discuss row over history, trade

WASHINGTON/SEOUL -- The top diplomats of South Korea and Japan held one-on-one talks in the United States on Tuesday (U.S. time) and discussed a protracted row stemming from differences over wartime forced labor.

Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha met with her Japanese counterpart, Toshimitsu Motegi, near San Francisco, on the sidelines of a trilateral meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Seoul's foreign ministry said.

Cheong Wa Dae spokesperson to quit for upcoming election

SEOUL -- Cheong Wa Dae spokesperson Ko Min-jung has tendered her resignation, seeking to run in the April 15 general elections, an informed source said Wednesday.

President Moon Jae-in is expected to accept it later in the day, as his office is in the final stage of selecting her successor, according to the source.

(LEAD) Hyundai launches Genesis GV80 on SUV demand

ILSAN, South Korea -- Hyundai Motor Co. on Wednesday launched the long-awaited GV80 sport utility vehicle under its independent Genesis brand to meet rising demand for recreational vehicles.

The GV80 is the first SUV model under the Genesis marque and the fourth model in the Genesis lineup, currently composed of the G70, G80 and G90 sedans.

(3rd LD) Job additions hit over 5-year high in Dec., jobless rate steady at 3.4 pct

SEJONG -- South Korea's jobless rate remained flat at 3.4 percent in December, but Asia's fourth-largest economy reported a stronger-than-expected job growth last month with job additions coming to 516,000, data showed Wednesday.

It was the strongest monthly job additions in five years and four months, according to the data compiled by Statistics Korea.

Korea's exports may get boost from slight oil price uptick amid U.S.-Iran tensions

SEJONG -- A moderate increase in global oil prices sparked by U.S.-Iran tensions is likely to help boost South Korea's exports, a trade association said Wednesday.

A 10 percent hike in global oil prices will lead to a 3.2 percent rise in South Korea's outbound shipments, according to the Korea International Trade Association (KITA). The trade surplus, however, will narrow as its imports will increase by a slightly higher rate of 3.3 percent.

(2nd LD) Pompeo calls for collective efforts to safeguard Strait of Hormuz: Seoul official

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday called for collective efforts to safeguard the Strait of Hormuz, a South Korean official said, suggesting that Washington seeks increased commitments from Seoul.

Pompeo and South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha held talks in Palo Alto, California, to discuss the situation in the Middle East and North Korea.

N. Korea holds nationwide party meetings to discuss Kim's New Year's message

SEOUL -- North Korea held nationwide regional meetings of the Workers' Party (WPK) to discuss leader Kim Jong-un's New Year's message urging stepped-up "self-reliance" and a "frontal breakthrough" against challenges facing the communist nation, state media reported Wednesday.

Provincial committee meetings were held on Monday and Tuesday across the nation to discuss the results of the plenary session of the WPK's Central Committee in late December, according to the Rodong Sinmun, the official newspaper of the ruling party.

Esper: U.S. committed to Singapore deal with N. Korea

WASHINGTON, Jan. 14 (Yonhap) -- The United States is committed to the full implementation of a nuclear deal between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Tuesday.

Esper made the remark during talks with Japanese Defense Minister Taro Kono at the Pentagon, saying the leaders' joint statement from their first summit in Singapore in June 2018 "includes the complete elimination of (North Korea's) weapons of mass destruction, their means of production, and their means of delivery," the Pentagon said in a readout.

Unification minister vows action to improve inter-Korean relations

SEOUL -- Unification Minister Kim Yeon-chul has pledged to take possible measures to improve relations with North Korea, rather than waiting for progress in negotiations between Pyongyang and Washington, according to civic group officials.

The remark, made during a luncheon meeting with representatives of pro-unification civic and religious groups on Tuesday, is in line with President Moon Jae-in's vow to expand inter-Korean cooperation so as to help facilitate stalled nuclear talks between Washington and Pyongyang.

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