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Yonhap News Summary

All News 13:30 June 24, 2020

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

(LEAD) N. Korean leader suspends military action plans against S. Korea

SEOUL -- North Korea suspended "military action plans" against South Korea during a Central Military Commission meeting presided over by leader Kim Jong-un, state media reported Wednesday, raising questions about Pyongyang's intentions behind the decision.

The decision came as a surprise because the North had widely been expected to convene a meeting of the Central Military Commission of the ruling Workers' Party to endorse military action that its military has threatened to take against the South in anger over anti-Pyongyang leaflets.

(LEAD) N. Korea seen removing loudspeakers from border areas: sources

SEOUL -- North Korea was seen removing about 10 propaganda loudspeakers reinstalled recently along the border with South Korea, military sources said Wednesday, after leader Kim Jong-un ordered the suspension of military action plans against the South.

The North recently set up around 20 loudspeakers in border areas after threatening to take military action against what it called "the enemy" in anger over Seoul's failure to stop defectors from sending anti-Pyongyang propaganda leaflets across the border.

(LEAD) S. Korea grapples with sustained rise in local infections, imported cases

SEOUL -- South Korea's new coronavirus cases spiked again Wednesday as cluster infections in the greater Seoul area and outside the capital continued to increase. A sustained rise in imported cases also put health officials on high alert.

The country added 51 cases, including 31 local infections, raising the total caseload to 12,535, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC).

S. Korean trade minister announces bid to become next WTO chief

SEOUL -- South Korean Trade Minister Yoo Myung-hee on Wednesday announced her bid for the top job of the World Trade Organization (WTO), saying she would make her utmost efforts to reshape the final arbiter in trade disputes if she is elected.

Yoo's bid comes as the WTO is mired in its biggest crisis since it was created in 1995 over growing uncertainties in global rules on trade between nations and fragile collaboration among member nations.

(LEAD) Remains of 147 S. Korean soldiers return home after 70 years

WASHINGTON/SEOUL -- A solemn ceremony was held in Hawaii on Tuesday to repatriate the remains of 147 South Korean soldiers killed in the 1950-53 Korean War.

The remains had been among those brought to the U.S. after joint excavation work in North Korea from 1990-1994, and following the first summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Singapore in June 2018.

S. Korea's financial market stable but to face more problems: BOK

SEOUL -- South Korea's financial market will continue to be stabilized, but the economic fallout from the new coronavirus pandemic may increasingly become more serious and real down the road, the Bank of Korea (BOK) said Wednesday.

"While economic activities will gradually resume from the second half of the year, the financial market will continue to be more stabilized, but there is a possibility that the negative impact from the COVID-19 pandemic on the financial system may come to the surface," the central bank said in a biennial report on financial stability submitted to the National Assembly.

Gov't to allow sending of face masks to overseas Koreans regardless of nationality

SEOUL -- The government will allow South Koreans to send face masks to overseas family members regardless of whether they have Korean citizenship or not as domestic supplies have stabilized, the foreign ministry said Wednesday.

Currently, South Koreans are allowed to send up to 12 surgical masks per person every month, and the recipients must be South Korean citizens.

Seoul stocks extend gains late Wednesday morning

SEOUL -- South Korean stocks extended gains late Wednesday morning on gains in major tech and bio shares.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 31.97 points, or 1.5 percent, to 2,163.21 as of 11:20 a.m.

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