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Yonhap News Summary

Yonhap News Summary 13:30 June 17, 2020

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

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(2nd LD) Cheong Wa Dae hits back at N. Korea's 'rude, senseless' criticism of Moon

SEOUL -- The office of President Moon Jae-in strongly condemned the sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on Wednesday for her "rude and senseless" criticism of Moon and warned that it won't tolerate the North's unreasonable words and acts anymore.

"It is a senseless act to disparage (Moon's speech earlier this week) in a very rude tone without understanding its purpose at all," Yoon Do-han, Cheong Wa Dae's senior secretary for public communication, said in a war of words between the two Koreas.

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(3rd LD) N.K. to redeploy troops to Kaesong, Mount Kumgang areas, rejects Seoul's offer for envoys

SEOUL -- North Korea said Wednesday it has rejected South Korea's offer to send special envoys and will redeploy troops to two inter-Korean business zones near the border, unrelentingly ratcheting up tensions a day after the regime blew up a joint liaison office.

The North's disclosure of its rejection of the special envoy proposal shows the regime has no intention to defuse tensions through dialogue and will carry out a series of measures it has threatened to take in anger over propaganda leaflets criticizing its leader.

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Hotline between Seoul, Pyongyang spy agencies possibly in operation

SEOUL -- North Korea's disclosure of Seoul's offer to send special envoys to Pyongyang sparked speculation about what communication lines remain open between the two sides after the North vowed to cut off all such hotlines.

The North's Korean Central News Agency said President Moon Jae-in offered Monday to send special envoys to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, but Kim's powerful sister Kim Yo-jong "flatly" rejected the offer as a "tactless and sinister proposal."

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Derision, invectives against Moon by N.K. leader's sister draw ire of S. Korea

SEOUL -- The derisive, invective-filled tirade against President Moon Jae-in by the sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is drawing public outrage here and emboldening hawkish calls for a tougher stance against the recalcitrant regime.

On Wednesday, Kim Yo-jong, the first vice department director of the ruling Workers' Party's Central Committee, slammed Moon over his recent speech marking the 20th anniversary of an inter-Korean declaration and other remarks, calling them "disgusting" and "shameless sophism."

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Unification ministry voices 'strong regret' over N.K. plan to send troops to Kaesong, Mount Kumgang areas

SEOUL -- The unification ministry on Wednesday expressed "strong regret" over North Korea's plan to send its troops to two inter-Korean business zones near the border disarmed under previous inter-Korean agreements, urging Pyongyang to refrain from escalating tension.

"We express our strong regret over an announcement by a spokesperson of the General Staff of the Korean People's Army to turn the Mount Kumgang tourist area and the Kaesong industrial complex region into military zones," Vice Unification Minister Suh Ho said in a press briefing.

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N. Korea placed explosives inside liaison office right after Kim Yo-jong's statement: sources

SEOUL -- North Korea appears to have begun preparations to destroy the inter-Korean liaison office building by placing explosives immediately after leader Kim Jong-un's sister issued a warning, military sources said Wednesday.

On Saturday night, some unusual movements were detected around the liaison office in the North's border town of Kaesong, such as vehicles moving around, according to the sources.

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(2nd LD) New virus cases bounce back, another cluster looming outside Seoul

SEOUL -- South Korea's new virus cases rebounded to over 40 on Wednesday, as cluster infections continued to linger in greater Seoul and imported cases spiked. More mass infections outside the greater Seoul area were also reported.

The country added 43 new cases, including 31 local infections, raising the total caseload to 12,198, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC).

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(2nd LD) S. Korea to further tighten property rules, expand regulated areas to curb rising home prices

SEOUL -- South Korea said Wednesday that it will further tighten lending rules and designate more areas subject to tighter regulations in an effort to stem a further rise in housing prices.

The government also warned that it will take additional stronger steps to curb speculative demand, if needed.

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(2nd LD) U.S. urges N. Korea to refrain from 'counterproductive actions'

WASHINGTON -- The United States urged North Korea on Tuesday to refrain from "further counterproductive actions" after the communist nation blew up an inter-Korean liaison office in anger over anti-Pyongyang leaflets sent by defectors.

The North destroyed the office in its border city of Kaesong earlier Tuesday, following through with its threat to do so and dramatically raising tensions further on the Korean Peninsula.

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