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Yonhap News Summary

2017/12/18 16:53

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

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Moon says his visit to China laid groundwork for normalizing relations with Beijing

SEOUL -- President Moon Jae-in said Monday that his visit to China laid the groundwork for normalizing frayed relations with the neighboring country.

"The visit to China produced substantial achievements in that it laid the groundwork for all-out normalization of relations and cooperation not only in the economic sectors, but also in political and security areas, such as Korean Peninsula denuclearization and four major principles for building peace on the peninsula," Moon said during a meeting with senior secretaries.

"I would like to attach great meaning in that through this visit to China, we finished urgent homework in our diplomacy," he said. "South Korea and China were able to establish a solid and mature strategic cooperative partnership that is not shaken by external factors."

  

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(LEAD) N. Korea forecast to suffer severe economic trouble from March: state-run institute

(ATTN: UPDATES with more info in last 4 paras)

SEOUL -- As the strongest ever international sanctions begin to take effect, North Korea is expected to start suffering from severe economic difficulties around March next year, a state-run think tank said Monday.

"In addition to further toughened sanctions, an increase in North Korea's investment in conventional forces in the aftermath of military pressure stemming from the (Korean) deployment of American strategic assets is forecast to hit the North Korean economy seriously sometime after March next year," the Institute for National Security Strategy said in its 2018 prediction for North Korea. The institute is a research arm of the National Intelligence Service.

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(LEAD) S. Korea to embrace next key technology trends for growth

SEOUL-- South Korea will step up investment in the next key technology trends to create quality jobs and improve an industrial structure heavily reliant on large conglomerates and the manufacturing sector, the commerce ministry said Monday.

The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy submitted the industry development plan to parliament, which aims to create over 300,000 jobs with increased investment in innovative industries by 2022.

"The industrial structure's heavy dependence on certain industries, companies and regions could create the illusion of growth, which poses limitations in fostering new growth drivers," the ministry said in the report. "We will overhaul industry policy to create quality jobs and boost income."

  

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(LEAD) Seoul stocks end nearly flat on U.S. tax reform

(ATTN: ADDS bond yields at bottom)

SEOUL -- South Korean stocks finished nearly flat Monday as investors offloaded local shares on anticipated tax reform in the United States, analysts said. The local currency gained against the greenback.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) shed 0.19 points, or 0.01 percent, to close at 2,481.88. Trade volume was moderate at 321 million shares worth 4.4 trillion won (US$4 billion), with losers outpacing gainers 510 to 302.

Analysts said Seoul shares closed nearly flat as foreigners offloaded local stakes following anticipation of sweeping tax reform in the world's No. 1 economy.

"Although the tax reform will benefit U.S. companies, it is not a positive event for emerging countries as dollars will shift to the U.S.," said Rhoo Yong-seok, a researcher at KB Securities Co.

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Biz leaders say they will maintain status quo, cut spending next year

SEOUL, Dec. 18 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's corporate chief executives said they will maintain the current status quo on spending or move cut outlays next year, with a full third predicting an economic recovery after 2020, a local survey said Monday.

In a survey of 87 companies with over 300 employees and 186 firms with fewer than 300 workers, the Korea Employers Federation found a majority of the former planning to maintain their current capital expenditure plans in 2018 and a majority of the latter planning to cut their budget next year.

The results show an improvement in the business sentiment felt by the companies compared to a year earlier. In the same surveys conducted in 2016, the companies replied they will cut spending amid an economic slowdown, the statement said.

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(2nd LD) newborns-autopsy

(2nd LD) Autopsies under way to find cause of newborns' mysterious deaths

(ATTN: UPDATES with autopsies beginning; CHANGES headline; ADDS another photo)

SEOUL -- Forensic doctors conducted autopsies on the bodies of four newborn babies Monday to determine what caused them to die successively at a local university hospital in an 81-minute period over the weekend.

The prematurely born babies were in incubators at the intensive care unit for newborns at Ewha Womans University Medical Center in Mokdong, western Seoul, when they died between 9:31 p.m. and 10:53 p.m. on Saturday, police said.

Families said the babies all had bloated bellies and difficulty breathing before their deaths.

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(2nd LD) N.K. leader visits mausoleum for late father, vows 'fight' for strong nation

(ATTN: UPDATES with S. Korean gov't view in last 4 paras; ADDS photo)

SEOUL -- North Korean leader Kim Jong-un visited a Pyongyang mausoleum on the weekend to pay tribute to his late father, marking the sixth anniversary of his death, the nation's state media reported Monday.

North Korea watchers here had been curious about Kim's whereabouts on the North's "greatest national mourning day."

   In the previous report released Sunday, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) did not mention Kim Jong-un by his name in the list of top communist party officials who attended a ceremony held at the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun earlier in the day.

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Ruling party pressures main opposition to actively engage in constitutional revision talks

SEOUL -- The ruling Democratic Party pressured the main opposition party Monday to actively engage in talks over a constitutional revision, as the term of a parliamentary panel on the divisive issue nears its end.

The special consultative panel has produced little progress amid disputes over how to retool the 1987 Constitution, which undergirds the current concentration of power in a single leader, seen as a cause of power abuse and intense political polarization. Its one-year term ends this month.

Complicating the amendment talks, Hong Joon-pyo, the leader of the Liberty Korea Party (LKP), has opposed the government's push to hold a referendum on the revision in tandem with the local elections next year.

(END)

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