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Yonhap News Summary

All News 16:56 June 17, 2020

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

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(4th 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 blowing 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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(3rd 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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Moon meets former unification ministers to discuss N. Korea

SEOUL -- President Moon Jae-in held a luncheon meeting Wednesday with a group of former unification ministers to discuss deepening troubles in inter-Korean ties, his office said.

During the two-hour meeting at Cheong Wa Dae, Moon listened to their opinions on South-North relations, according to Cheong Wa Dae deputy spokesman Yoon Jae-kwan.

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Unification minister offers to resign over worsened inter-Korean relations

SEOUL -- Unification Minister Kim Yeon-chul said Wednesday that he has offered to resign to take responsibility for failing to stably manage inter-Korean relations.

Kim said that he expressed his intent to resign to the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae earlier in the day.

"I feel sorry for failing to live up to the demands and expectations of our people for peace and prosperity on the Korean Peninsula," Kim told reporters during a hastily arranged briefing.

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(3rd LD) More cluster infections looming, virus outbreaks tipped to stretch into summer

SEOUL -- Despite strenuous efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus, South Korea is bracing for yet more cluster infections in the greater Seoul and other areas, and health authorities warned Wednesday that the spread of COVID-19 may stretch even into the summer.

The country reported 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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S. Korea to conduct tests of COVID-19 vaccine, treatment candidates on monkeys this month

SEOUL -- South Korea will test treatment and vaccine candidates against the new coronavirus on monkeys this month, the science ministry said Wednesday.

Two experimental treatments and one vaccine candidate against the novel coronavirus under development by unidentified firms or research organizations will be tested on monkeys as part of the government-supported animal testing model, according to the Ministry of Science and ICT.

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S. Korean religious activists call for legislation banning discrimination against minorities

SEOUL -- A human rights advocacy group for minorities demanded Wednesday the government enact legislation to protect the country's minorities from hatred and discrimination.

In a press conference held in downtown Seoul, the group urged the country to acknowledge persistent racial discrimination against migrant workers and other minorities.

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Samsung regains top spot in Southeast Asian smartphone market in Q1: report

SEOUL -- Samsung Electronics Co. recaptured the top spot in the Southeast Asian smartphone market in the first quarter of the year by edging out its Chinese rivals, a report showed Wednesday.

Samsung's market share in Southeast Asia stood at 18.9 percent in the January-March period, according to market tracker Counterpoint Research, outperforming Chinese phone maker Oppo by 0.2 percentage point.

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(LEAD) Seoul stocks slightly up despite escalating inter-Korean tensions

SEOUL -- South Korean shares finished a tad higher Wednesday as investors bet that the escalating tensions between two Koreas would have a limited impact on the financial markets. The Korean won fell against the U.S. dollar.

After a choppy session, the benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 3.00 points, or 0.14 percent, to close at 2,141.05. Trading volume was high at about 915 million shares worth some 15.2 trillion won (US$12.5 billion), with gainers outnumbering losers 495 to 356.
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