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Yonhap News Summary

All News 13:16 June 16, 2020

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

(2nd LD) N. Korea's military threatens to reenter disarmed border

SEOUL -- North Korea's military said Tuesday it is reviewing plans to reenter border areas disarmed under inter-Korean agreements, days after the North threatened to take military action over the sending of leaflets by activists from South Korea.

The General Staff of the Korean People's Army (KPA) also revealed that the North would send its own propaganda leaflets into the South, saying it is considering opening front-line areas and waters off the southwest coast to cooperate for a "large-scale leaflet scattering struggle against the enemy."

S. Korea to take steps if volatility grows in financial markets

SEJONG -- South Korea will swiftly take measures to stabilize financial markets if volatility grows, Vice Finance Minister Kim Yong-beom said Tuesday.

Kim made the remarks a day after South Korea's main stock index plummeted 4.8 percent amid worries about a new wave of coronavirus infections around the world that could dash hopes of a quicker economic recovery.

Trump says he is halving U.S. troop presence in Germany

WASHINGTON -- U.S. President Donald Trump said Monday that his administration will halve the U.S. troop presence in Germany amid speculation that he could try to do the same with American troops in South Korea.

Trump blamed the drawdown on Germany's failure to meet its commitments as a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to spend at least 2 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP) on defense.

(LEAD) Vice minister visits border region to monitor policing against anti-Pyongyang leaflets

SEOUL -- Vice Unification Minister Suh Ho visited a western border region on Tuesday as part of efforts to deal sternly with the controversial campaign to fly propaganda leaflets into North Korea, the ministry said.

Suh visited Seokmo Island in the Ganghwa area on the country's western border to take a firsthand look at the preparedness of police and the coast guard to stop North Korean defectors and other activists from sending leaflets into the North, according to the ministry.

Korean economy tipped to shrink 0.4 pct in 2020 on virus: IBs

SEOUL -- Major foreign investment banks (IBs) and economic institutes have forecast South Korea's economy to shrink in 2020 due to the fallout of the fast-spreading novel coronavirus, a report showed on Tuesday.

According to the report by the Korea Center for International Finance, nine foreign IBs and economic think tanks predicted that South Korea's economy may contract 0.4 percent this year, up from a contraction of 0.9 percent that they predicted in late April.

Nomura raised its forecast to a contraction of 0.5 percent for the Korean economy, compared with its earlier estimate of 5.9 percent contraction.

U.S. Embassy says Black Lives Matter banner removed to avoid 'misperception'

SEOUL -- The U.S. Embassy in Seoul said Tuesday that the Black Lives Matter banner hung on the facade of its building earlier this week was removed to "avoid misperception," amid reports the removal came after President Donald Trump voiced displeasure.

On Saturday, the embassy put up the banner, a symbol of an anti-racism movement in the United States and beyond sparked by the police killing last month of an unarmed African-American, George Floyd, but it disappeared Monday.

(LEAD) New virus cases still worrisome, steady rise continuing in greater Seoul

SEOUL -- South Korea's new virus cases stayed below 40 for the third consecutive day Tuesday, but cluster infections in the densely populous metropolitan area have shown no clear signs of a slowdown and imported cases were also on a steady rise.

The country added 34 new cases, including 21 local infections, raising the total caseload to 12,155, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC).

S. Korean companies' sales, profitability narrow in Q1 amid pandemic

SEOUL -- South Korean businesses' sales and profitability worsened in the first quarter from three months earlier, central bank data showed Tuesday, amid slowing demand at home and abroad caused by the spread of the new coronavirus.

In the January-March period, sales of local businesses dropped at an average 1.5 percent from the same period last year, accelerating from an average 0.5 percent on-year decline in the last three months of 2019, according to the data from the Bank of Korea.

Eyes on Kaesong, Mt. Kumgang as N.K. threatens to send troops to disarmed border areas

SEOUL -- North Korea's western border town of Kaesong and the Mount Kumgang tourist zone on the east coast appear to be the most likely areas where Pyongyang could send troops following its threat Tuesday to reenter demilitarized border regions, officials and experts said.

The General Staff of the North's Korean People's Army said it will send troops "into the zones that had been demilitarized under the North-South agreement, turn the front line into a fortress and further heighten the military vigilance against the South."

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