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Yonhap News Summary

2017/05/19 13:30

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

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(2nd LD) Tillerson wants N.K. to trust U.S. promise of no hostility, refrain from nuclear, missile tests

WASHINGTON -- The United States wants North Korea to trust its promise of no hostility and conduct no more nuclear or missile tests before Washington can consider opening talks with the communist nation, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was quoted as saying Thursday.

The remarks, made in a meeting with South Korea's special presidential envoy Hong Seok-hyun, are the latest in a series of signs that the U.S. may be moving toward dialogue and engagement after months of exchanging saber-rattling and harsh rhetoric with Pyongyang.

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Nearly 90 pct of citizens have positive outlook on Moon: survey

SEOUL -- Nearly 90 percent of adult South Korean citizens have a positive outlook on President Moon Jae-in's handling of state affairs, a survey showed Friday, reflecting high public support for the new liberal leader.

In the survey conducted from Tuesday through Thursday by local pollster Gallup Korea, 87 percent of the respondents said Moon will do well in his state management. Seven percent painted a negative outlook on his future performance, while 6 percent declined to provide an answer.

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Over 500 draw lots to attend Park's first hearing

SEOUL -- Hundreds of South Koreans flocked to a court in Seoul on Friday to take part in a drawing for the opportunity to watch former President Park Geun-hye's first hearing next week.

Ahead of the hearing slated for Tuesday, the Seoul Central District Court held the drawing to randomly allocate spectator seats to prevent people from lining up for hours under the current first-come, first-served rule.

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Tottenham's Son Heung-min sets single-season scoring record for S. Korean in European football

SEOUL -- Tottenham Hotspur attacker Son Heung-min has broken the single-season goal record for a South Korean in European football after grabbing a brace against Leicester City.

Son scored twice in Tottenham's 6-1 over Leicester City in their English Premier League (EPL) match at the King Power Stadium in Leicester, Britain, on Thursday (local time). Son now has 21 goals in all competitions this season, surpassing the previous record for a South Korean player in Europe held by Cha Bum-kun. Cha scored 19 goals during the 1985-86 season for the German side Bayer Leverkusen.

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S. Korea's special presidential envoy meets with U.S. congressional leaders

WASHINGTON -- A special envoy of South Korean President Moon Jae-in held a series of meetings with U.S. congressional leaders on Thursday as he forged ahead with his mission to reaffirm and further strengthen the alliance between the two countries under the new government in Seoul.

Special envoy Hong Seok-hyun arrived in Washington on Wednesday and paid a visit to President Donald Trump at the White House. During the meeting, Trump expressed hope for working closely together with Moon to strengthen the alliance and resolve the North Korean nuclear issue, Hong said.

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Upgrades under way at N. Korea's long-range rocket launch site: 38 North

WASHINGTON -- New road construction and other upgrades are under way at North Korea's long-range rocket launch site, although there is no sign of preparations for a rocket launch or an engine test, a website monitoring the North said Thursday.

Commercial satellite imagery taken of the Sohae Satellite Launching Station "indicate upgrades are in progress at North Korea's main space launch facility, including new road construction throughout the site, new guard or observation positions and excavation near the launch pad, the purpose of which is yet unclear," the website 38 North said.

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(2nd LD) Acting justice minister offers to step down amid judicial scandal

SEOUL -- South Korea's acting justice minister offered to resign Friday, one day after the ministry and state prosecutors launched internal corruption investigations into their own officials, who are suspected of intentional negligence to afford leniency toward a former presidential secretary.

"I did my best to maintain law and order as acting justice minister amid a national crisis. But I decided to step down believing I must be the first one to give up what I have in order to win the people's trust in regard to the recent incident," Lee Chang-jae said.

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New budget guidelines focus on job creation, income hike

SEJONG -- The revised guidelines for the 2018 state budget is designed to center around the pledges of the new government including job creation and a hike in household income, the finance ministry said Friday.

Following the inauguration of President Moon Jae-in on May 10, the Ministry of Strategy and Finance revised the budget guidelines for next year to reflect the main policies of the liberal-focused president, who has put his policy priority on reviving the economy through job creation and increased income. The 2018 budget is expected to amount to 420 trillion won(US$372 billion), up from 400 trillion won earmarked for 2017, it added.

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Top organizer for PyeongChang 2018 offers to open land route for N. Korea

SEOUL -- The top organizer of the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea has offered to open the land route for North Korean athletes if they decide to compete south of the tense border.

In a meeting with journalists at the South Korean Embassy in London on Thursday (local time), Lee Hee-beom, head of the organizing committee for the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Games, said South Korea will welcome North Korea with open arms.

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China says relations with S. Korea important, wants communication

BEIJING -- A senior Chinese official said Friday that relations between China and South Korea are "very important," underlining the need for the Asian neighbors to keep communicating with each other on issues of mutual concern.

Chinese State Councilor for Foreign Affairs Yang Jiechi made the remarks in a meeting with Lee Hae-chan, a visiting special envoy sent by South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

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BOK moves cash reserves to its office in southern Seoul

SEOUL -- South Korea's central bank said Friday that it has moved cash reserves to its office in southern Seoul as it prepares to begin a three-year renovation project.

The Bank of Korea (BOK) had kept cash worth more than 10 trillion won (US$8.8 billion) in its underground vault in its headquarters in central Seoul, but it has completed moving the cash to its office in the busy commercial district of Gangnam.

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Opposition parties call for resuming constitutional revision debate

SEOUL -- Opposition parties on Friday called for the resumption of parliamentary discussions on a constitutional revision, a day after President Moon Jae-in made the first mention of the divisive issue since his election last week.

The parties urged Moon to deliver on his election pledge to hold a referendum on the revision in tandem with local elections slated for June 2018, while stressing the discussions on how to rewrite the decades-old basic law must be led by the National Assembly.

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