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Yonhap News Summary

2018/01/02 17:30

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

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(3rd LD) S. Korea offers high-level talks with N.K. next week

SEOUL -- South Korea on Tuesday proposed high-level talks with North Korea next week over the North's possible participation in the PyeongChang Winter Olympics, in response to Kim Jong-un's reconciliatory New Year message.

Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon proposed that the two Koreas meet next Tuesday at the truce village of Panmunjom in the heavily fortified demilitarized zone.

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Parties show mixed responses to gov't proposal for cross-border talks

SEOUL -- Rival parties on Tuesday gave mixed reactions to Seoul's offer for high-level cross-border talks on North Korea's participation in the upcoming PyeongChang Winter Olympics.

Earlier in the day, Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon proposed holding the talks in the border village of Panmunjom next Tuesday, after North Korean leader Kim Jong-un expressed willingness to join the Winter Games to be held here from Feb. 9-25.

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PM: N. Korea could demand 'different treatment' in rare inter-Korean talks

SEOUL -- Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon said Tuesday that North Korea could demand "different treatment," apparently as a nuclear power, if rare talks take place between the two sides to discuss its participation in PyeongChang Winter Olympics.

"It appears that South-North talks will take place for the first time in a long time," Lee said during a ceremony to kick off New Year, noting that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un spoke in his New Year's message of a need for the two Koreas to hold a meeting at an early date.

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FM says more global coordination needed to brace for thaw in inter-Korean ties

SEOUL -- South Korea's top diplomat underlined the need for stepped up efforts Tuesday to seek global policy coordination to brace for a thaw in inter-Korean relations.

"This year will be a busier year for us, since the pace at which inter-Korean relations move forward should be met with closer coordination for our bilateral ties and standing in the global community," Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha told staff in her New Year speech.

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(LEAD) Finance minister vows to smooth out potential fallout of minimum wage hike

SEOUL -- South Korea's chief economic policymaker said Tuesday that the government will redouble efforts to successfully implement a series of measures aimed at smoothing out a rise in minimum wage that takes effect this year.

In July last year, the country decided to increase its minimum wage by 16 percent to 7,530 won (US$6.60) for 2018, marking the biggest jump in about two decades.

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(LEAD) Seoul shares end higher on tech, chemical gains, Korean won rises to 3-year high

SEOUL -- South Korean stocks advanced Tuesday, the first trading session of 2018, as large cap tech and chemical shares gained ground, analysts said. The Korean won sharply rose against the U.S. dollar to reach an over three-year high.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) added 12.16 points, or 0.49 percent, to end at 2,479.65. Trade volume was light at 244 million shares worth 4.4 trillion won (US$4.1 billion), with winners outnumbering losers 499 to 333.

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(LEAD) S. Korea appoints more women, non-career diplomats to head overseas missions

SEOUL -- South Korea has named more women and non-career diplomats to lead the country's diplomatic missions overseas, a decision aimed at enhancing the competitiveness of the nation's foreign service, the foreign ministry said Tuesday.

Cho Shin-hee, a senior official at the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries named as South Korea's ambassador to Fiji, was one of five women newly appointed to head South Korean diplomatic missions in a reshuffle, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

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President to prioritize peace, safety and people's livelihoods

SEOUL -- President Moon Jae-in on Tuesday vowed to step up efforts to repair ties with North Korea, upgrade public safety systems and improve the daily lives of ordinary citizens this year.

In a meeting for the new year with more than 200 leaders of various sectors, the president laid out two main objectives of the administration in the new year -- peace on the peninsula and public safety.

(END)

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