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S. Korean parliament ratifies defense cost-sharing pact with U.S.

SEOUL, April 16 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's parliament ratified a defense-cost sharing pact with the United States Wednesday after months of wrangling between rival parties over the transparency of its execution. The Special Measure Agreement (SMA) calls for Seoul to share the cost of stationing 28,500 American troops in South Korea. In January, Seoul and Washington renewed the agreement, with the South agreeing to pay 920 billion won (US$886 million) this year for the upkeep of the U.S. troops, a 5.8 percent increase from a year earlier.

S. Korea, U.S. discuss N. Korea, alliance issues in Pentagon talks

By Lee Chi-dong WASHINGTON, April 15 (Yonhap) -- South Korea and the United States opened a high-level military meeting Tuesday at the Pentagon to discuss North Korea and pending alliance issues on the agenda. The two-day Korea-U.S. Integrated Defense Dialogue (KIDD) comes just ahead of trilateral security talks, also involving Japan, to be held at the Pentagon later this week. "At KIDD, which began this morning, the two sides are discussing issues of mutual security concerns," a Pentagon official told reporters.

N. Korea denounces Seoul's refusal of joint probe into drones

By Kim Eun-jung SEOUL, April 16 (Yonhap) -- North Korea on Wednesday denounced Seoul's refusal of its demand for a joint investigation into three drones found in South Korea, saying a preliminary result that pointed at Pyongyang's involvement is a "malicious slander." South Korea's defense ministry last week said the drones recently discovered in inter-Korean border areas were produced and sent by North Korea for spying purposes, though the conclusive evidence has yet to be found.

Russia's deputy PM to visit N. Korea soon: report

SEOUL, April 16 (Yonhap) -- Russia's Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Trutnev plans to visit North Korea soon, a U.S. radio report said Wednesday. The trip by Trutnev, who is also President Vladimir Putin's envoy to Russia's Far East, is the latest in a series of exchange visits of high-level officials between the two countries, the Washington-based Radio Free Asia (RFA) reported, citing Russian media. Russian media reported Trutnev's planned trip to Pyongyang on Tuesday, citing Kim Yong-jae, North Korea's top envoy to Russia, according to the RFA.

Davies, Wu in 'productive' talks on N. Korea, U.S. says

By Lee Chi-dong WASHINGTON/ NEW YORK, April 15 (Yonhap) -- Top U.S. and Chinese nuclear envoys had "productive" discussions on North Korea in New York, the State Department said Tuesday. "The United States and China agree on the fundamental importance of a denuclearized North Korea," the department's spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a readout about a meeting between Glyn Davies, special representative for North Korea policy, and his Chinese counterpart Wu Dawei a day earlier.

Davies, Wu in 'productive' talks on N. Korea, U.S. says

By Lee Chi-dong WASHINGTON/ NEW YORK, April 15 (Yonhap) -- Top U.S. and Chinese nuclear envoys had "productive" discussions on North Korea in New York, the State Department said Tuesday. "The United States and China agree on the fundamental importance of a denuclearized North Korea," the department's spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a readout about a meeting between Glyn Davies, special representative for North Korea policy, and his Chinese counterpart Wu Dawei a day earlier.

Parliamentary committee OKs defense cost-share pact with U.S.

SEOUL, April 15 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's parliamentary committee for foreign affairs on Tuesday passed a bill ratifying a defense-cost sharing pact with the United States following months of wrangling between rival parties over its terms. In January, Seoul and Washington renewed the Special Measure Agreement (SMA) on sharing the cost of stationing 28,500 American troops in South Korea, with the South agreeing to pay 920 billion won (US$867 million) this year for the upkeep of the U.S. troops, a 5.8 percent increase from a year earlier.

S. Korea's registered vehicles likely to top 20 mln this year

SEJONG, April 15 (Yonhap) -- The number of registered vehicles in South Korea is expected to top 20 million this year for the first time on record, the transport ministry said Tuesday. As of the end of March, the number of registered vehicles here came to 19,596,321, up 1 percent from three months earlier, according to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport. A steady increase will put the total number at over 20 million before the end of the year, the ministry said in a press release.

CJ Korea Express sets up biz tieup with Chinese delivery firm

SEOUL, April 15 (Yonhap) -- CJ Korea Express Corp., South Korea's biggest logistics firm, said Tuesday it has signed a preliminary deal with Shanghai YTO Express (Logistics) Co. for business cooperation. The two companies will share their delivery networks and jointly develop a system for delivery of online-traded merchandise, the South Korean firm said. They also agreed to expand their global presence by using the overseas network of CJ Korea Express, it said.

S. Korea joins international fleet review in China

BEIJING, April 14 (Yonhap) -- South Korea will send two warships to an international fleet review in China, an official at the South Korean Embassy in Beijing said Monday. About 30 warships from 10 nations, including China, Australia, India and Pakistan, will join the fleet review to be held in China's eastern port city of Qingdao next week, the official said. South Korea will send a 4,500-ton destroyer and a 2,300-ton frigate to the naval ceremony, the official said on condition of anonymity.
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