South Korea

South Korea narrowly avoids recession in first quarter

South Korea FlagSeoul - South Korea's economy unexpectedly grew slightly by 0.1 per ce

Hyundai profits down 43 per cent in first quarter

Hyundai profits down 43 per cent in first quarter Seoul - South Korean carmaker Hyundai Motor Co said Thursday that its net profits declined 42.7 per cent in the first three months of 2009, owing to a global drop in demand and rising marketing costs. Net profit fell to 224.9 billion won (166.7 million dollars) from 393 billion won in the January-to-March quarter of 2008, South Korea's leading carmaker said.

Operating profits were down 71 per cent to 153.8 billion won, and sales shrunk by 26.4 per cent to 6.03 trillion won.

Pyeongchang aims to come third time lucky with 2018 Olympics bid

Pyeongchang aims to come third time lucky with 2018 Olympics bidSeoul - Pyeongchang will join the bid race for the 2018 Winter Olympics as the South Korean town aims to come third time lucky. The South Korean Olympic Committee confirmed on Thursday that the winter sport resort some 180 kilometres north-east of the capital Seoul will make another attempt to land the Games.

Pyeongchang narrowly lost the 2010 bid against Canada's Vancouver and also missed out for 1014 when the International Olympic Committee elected the Russian Black Sea resort Sochi.

Russian foreign minister visits North Korea

Sergei LavrovSeoul - Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov arrived Thursday in the North Korean capital, Pyongyang, for talks after the communist state's decision to withdraw from international negotiations to end its nuclear weapons programme. Lavrov was expected to try to persuade North Korea's leaders to return to the six-nation talks, in which Russia, North Korea, South Korea, China, the United States and Japan participate.

North Korea's state-run Korean Central News Agency reported Lavrov's arrival without giving details of his visit. The Russian foreign minister was scheduled to visit South Korea Friday.

North Korea accuses South of border provocation

 North Korea accuses South of border provocation Seoul  - North Korea on Wednesday accused South Korea of deliberately moving a border marker northward amid a backdrop of rising tension on the Korean Peninsula.

The incident was a "serious military provocation," Pyongyang's state-run Korean Central News Agency said. South Korea's military general staff rejected the accusation and accused its communist neighbour of "unnecessarily raising tension" by making false claims.

Talks between North, South Korea delayed

Talks between North, South Korea delayed Eds: epa photo 00000401703750Seoul - The first direct talks between the governments of North and South Korea in more than a year were delayed Tuesday because of differences over procedural issues, South Korea said.

Seoul's delegation to the talks in the North Korean border city of Kaesong was initially unsure of who would take part from the North Korean side, a spokeswoman for the South's Unification Ministry said.

The two sides could also not agree in which building the discussions should be held, she said.

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