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Yonhap News Summary

2018/06/01 13:30

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

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S. Korea calls for constructive Russian role in peninsula peace efforts

SEOUL -- South Korea's Vice Foreign Minister Lim Sung-nam called Friday for Russia to play a "constructive" role amid a flurry of diplomacy aimed at ending North Korea's nuclear ambitions and establishing a lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula.

Lim made the call during a meeting with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Titov, in Seoul. Their talks came ahead of a possible June 12 summit between the United States and North Korea in Singapore over the fate of Pyongyang's nuclear program.

"(We) express our gratitude once again for Russia's interest and support during the process of a positive change in the situation on the Korean Peninsula," Lim said during the two countries' sixth vice-ministerial strategic dialogue.

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Seoul stocks edge up late Friday morning

SEOUL -- South Korean stocks traded higher Friday morning on the back of foreign buying.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 17.15 points, or 0.71 percent, to 2,440.16 as of 11:20 a.m.

Market kingpin Samsung Electronics was 1.18 percent up.

Bio shares had a bullish morning, with pharmaceutical giant Celltrion advancing 2.45 percent.

Samsung Biologics jumped 4.83 percent after financial authorities wrapped up reviewing the firm's alleged accounting irregularities the previous day. Details of the review were not disclosed due to a confidentiality agreement.

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(3rd LD) Koreas begins high-level talks to discuss implementation of summit agreement

(ATTN: RECASTS throughout with updated info)

PANMUNJOM -- South and North Korea emphasized the importance of mutual trust and respect as they kicked off high-level talks on Friday to discuss steps to implement the agreement reached by their leaders in their April and May summits.

The high-level talks started at 10 a.m. at the truce village of Panmunjom in the heavily fortified Demilitarized Zone that divides the Koreas, according to the unification ministry.

Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon leads South Korea's five-member delegation, including Vice Transport Minister Kim Jeong-ryeol and Vice Culture Minster Roh Tae-kang.

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(3rd LD) S. Korea's exports jump 13.5 pct on-year in May

(ATTN: ADDS more details paras 12-14)

SEJONG -- South Korea's exports spiked 13.5 percent in May from a year earlier, rebounding from a brief dip in the previous month, due to a rise in prices of key products and a global boom in the IT sector, government data showed Friday.

Outbound shipments reached US$50.98 billion last month, compared with $44.92 billion a year ago, according to the data compiled by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.

Imports surged 12.6 percent on-year to $44.25 billion.

South Korea's trade surplus came to $6.73 billion, marking 76 straight months in which the country's exports have exceeded imports, the ministry said.

May was also the third straight month that the country's exports topped the $50 billion mark, according to the ministry.

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(2nd LD) S. Korea economy grows revised 1 percent in Q1: BOK

(ATTN: UPDATES with comments in paras 5-6, 12-15)

SEOUL -- South Korea's economy grew at a slower-than-expected pace in the first quarter from three months earlier on sluggish construction and facilities investment, central bank data showed Friday.

The country's gross domestic product (GDP) expanded 1 percent in the January-March period, rebounding from a 0.2 percent on-quarter contraction three month earlier, according to preliminary data from the Bank of Korea (BOK).

The latest reading marks a slight decrease from an earlier estimate of a 1.1 percent expansion released in April.

The BOK explained that investment in construction and facilities rose 1 percentage point and 1.8 percentage points lower than the April estimate, respectively.

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U.S. says PACOM's name change will not affect commander missions

SEOUL -- The renaming of the U.S. Pacific Command does not alter the missions of any commander under the combatant unit, a U.S. military official said Friday, amid speculation that the name change reflects Washington's resolve to keep an assertive China in check.

U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis announced Wednesday that the Hawaii-headquartered command has been renamed the Indo-Pacific Command "in recognition of the increasing connectivity (of) the Indian and Pacific Oceans."

   The renaming came as China has been seen striving to project its maritime power far beyond its borders by building up its navy and constructing artificial islands in the disputed South China Sea capable of hosting military forces.

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(2nd LD) S. Korea economy grows revised 1 percent in Q1: BOK

(ATTN: UPDATES with comments in paras 5-6, 12-15)

SEOUL -- South Korea's economy grew at a slower-than-expected pace in the first quarter from three months earlier on sluggish construction and facilities investment, central bank data showed Friday.

The country's gross domestic product (GDP) expanded 1 percent in the January-March period, rebounding from a 0.2 percent on-quarter contraction three month earlier, according to preliminary data from the Bank of Korea (BOK).

The latest reading marks a slight decrease from an earlier estimate of a 1.1 percent expansion released in April.

The BOK explained that investment in construction and facilities rose 1 percentage point and 1.8 percentage points lower than the April estimate, respectively.

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(LEAD) S. Korea's consumer prices up 1.5 pct in May

(ATTN: ADDS more details in last 3 paras, photo)

SEJONG -- South Korea's consumer price growth continued to hover above 1 percent in May on a rise in prices of agricultural goods and services, government data showed Friday.

The country's consumer price index climbed 1.5 percent last month from a year earlier, slightly decelerating from the previous month's 1.6 percent on-year gain, according to the data compiled by Statistics Korea.

From a month earlier, the index rose 0.1 percent.

Core inflation, which excludes volatile oil and food prices, grew 1.3 percent on-year.

(END)

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