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Yonhap News Summary

All News 17:00 June 12, 2020

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

(3rd LD) New virus cases bounce back, greater Seoul under extended anti-infection measures

SEOUL -- South Korea's new virus cases rebounded to over 50 on Friday, with most of them reported in the Seoul metropolitan area, forcing health authorities to indefinitely extend toughened infection preventive measures in the densely populated capital area.

The country added 56 new cases, including 43 local infections, raising the total caseload to 12,003, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC). It marked an increase from 45 posted a day earlier.

(LEAD) Gyeonggi names 'danger zones' to block anti-N. Korean leaflets

SEOUL -- The provincial government of Gyeonggi, which surrounds Seoul, said Friday it will thoroughly block any attempt to send anti-North Korea propaganda leaflets across the border by designating parts of its border areas as off-limits danger zones.

The Gyeonggi government said the planned designation is one of its three measures to prevent North Korean defectors and South Korean activists from sending anti-Pyongyang leaflets and materials into the North from the northern border areas.

(LEAD) Local transmissions balloon by double digits in Seoul

SEOUL -- The number of newly confirmed cases from local transmissions in Seoul marked a double-digit growth for 11 straight days, raising concerns over a possibly bigger outbreak in the city where one-fourth of the population lives.

The number of daily local transmissions reported here from June 1-10 increased by two-digit numbers ranging from 13 to 29, according to an analysis of data by Yonhap News Agency.

(LEAD) Trump wants to pull out troops from S. Korea, Japan, other allies: ex-U.S. envoy to Germany

SEOUL -- U.S. President Donald Trump was "very clear" that he wants to bring U.S. troops home from South Korea, Japan and other allies, his former ambassador to Germany said, stressing Americans are "tired of paying too much" for the defense of other countries.

Richard Grenell made the remarks in an interview with the German newspaper Bild earlier this week while confirming a plan to pull out 9,700 U.S. troops from Germany -- about 30 percent of the total 34,674 U.S. troops in the European country, according to the U.S. media outlet Politico.

N. Korea slams U.N. chief for expressing regret over Pyongyang's move to cut inter-Korean hotlines

SEOUL -- North Korea on Friday criticized U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres for expressing "regret" over the North's decision to cut off all inter-Korean communication channels.

Guterres expressed his regret over Pyongyang's announcement, warning that such channels "are necessary to avoid misunderstandings or miscalculations," according to U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric.

(2nd LD) Toughened social distancing in greater Seoul extended indefinitely on spiking cases

SEOUL -- Beleaguered by a steady rise in cluster infections in the Seoul metropolitan area, South Korea on Friday opted to indefinitely extend its enhanced social distancing in the country's most densely populated region.

Health Minister Park Neung-hoo said tougher infection disease prevention measures will be enforced in Seoul and the adjacent cities in Gyeonggi Province, as well as Incheon, the western port city close to the nation's capital, until the number of new cases in the area drops to the single digits.

(LEAD) Attendance cap to remain for schools in capital area until June 30 amid uptick in infections

SEOUL -- The Ministry of Education on Friday extended a measure to reduce classroom crowding, as the country continued to see a worrisome uptick in coronavirus cases in Seoul and its adjacent cities.

The ministry said the measure to cap the number of students will be effective until June 30, which was originally scheduled to end this week. Elementary and middle schools are required to cap the number of students at one-third of the total student body and high schools at two-thirds.

(LEAD) Seoul stocks sink 2 pct on renewed concerns over virus, won falls

SEOUL -- South Korean stocks dropped 2 percent to the lowest in over a week Friday as renewed concerns over the new coronavirus outbreak pounded investor sentiment. The Korean won fell sharply against the U.S. dollar.

After a choppy session, the benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) declined 44.48 points, or 2.04 percent, to finish at 2,132.30, the lowest in eight sessions. Trading volume was moderate at 681.3 million shares worth 14.7 trillion won (US$12.2 billion), with losers outpacing gainers 720 to 160.

FM discusses coronavirus vaccine with IVI chief

SEOUL -- Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha met with the head of the International Vaccine Institute (IVI) on Friday and discussed the coronavirus pandemic and efforts to develop a vaccine, her office said.

In the meeting with Jerome Kim, she said that the role of the IVI has become more important as an international organization with expertise in development and distribution of vaccines, given the world is still facing the COVID-19 pandemic without a vaccine.

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