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Yonhap News Summary

Yonhap News Summary 17:19 June 25, 2020

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

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(LEAD) Diplomats of S. Korea, U.S. hold video talks to prep for senior economic meeting

SEOUL -- Diplomats of South Korea and the United States held a videoconference Thursday to prepare for annual vice-ministerial economic talks where America's push to shift global supply chains away from China could be high on the agenda.

The foreign ministry said that Yang Dong-han, director-general for bilateral economic affairs, and two deputy U.S. assistant secretaries of state -- David Meale and Marc Knapper -- discussed plans for the Senior Economic Dialogue (SED) slated for later this year.

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Culture minister denounces Japan for reneging on pledge to honor wartime labor victims

SEOUL -- South Korea's culture minister on Thursday criticized Japan for failing to fulfill its promise to honor victims of wartime forced labor in a new museum on its industrial revolution sites.

In a strongly-worded post on Facebook, Culture Minister Park Yang-woo denounced Tokyo for opening its new Industrial Heritage Information Center on the 23 UNESCO-designated sites of Japan's Meiji Industrial Revolution without proper explanation of the forced labor that took place on the sites. The museum opened on June 15 in Tokyo.

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Seoul mayor proposes virus prevention talks with N. Korea

SEOUL -- The mayor of South Korea's capital on Thursday suggested holding a dialogue with North Korea on disease control and prevention amid the ongoing new coronavirus pandemic that has infected more than 9 million worldwide.

"Seoul has so far shared its disease containment expertise and medical supplies not just with our sister cities but also with other cities around the world. Then, there is no reason why we cannot share them with our brother country, North Korea," Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon said during a luncheon with members of the Peninsula Club.

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S. Korea's inflation likely to keep slow pace in post-coronavirus era: BOK

SEOUL, June 25 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's inflation will likely rise at a lower rate even if the new coronavirus pandemic ends, due to a slowdown in economic growth and changes in how people spend or save their money, the head of South Korea's central bank said Thursday.

The country's consumer prices increased in the mid-1 percent range in January but slowed to around 0 percent after the country reported its first confirmed case of the new coronavirus on Jan. 20, dipping to a negative 0.3 percent on-year growth in May.

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N. Korea preparing mass gymnastics show for party anniversary

SEOUL -- North Korea is preparing for a mass gymnastics performance to mark the anniversary of the founding of the ruling Workers' Party, state media said Thursday, despite concerns over the new coronavirus.

The Pyongyang Times, an English-language weekly, carried a report introducing Pak Un-sun, a department director of Korea University of Physical Education, saying she is "now engrossed in the production of mass gymnastics for celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Workers' Party of Korea."

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(LEAD) Seoul stocks sink 2.27 pct on renewed virus woes

SEOUL -- South Korean stocks tumbled more than 2 percent Thursday as the new cases of the novel coronavirus surged, dimming investors' hopes for a quick global economic recovery, analysts said. The Korean won fell against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) shed 49.14 points, or 2.27 percent, to close at 2,112.37. Trading volume was heavy at 1 billion shares worth 10.6 trillion won (US$8.8 billion), with losers far outnumbering winners 732 to 145.

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Incentives for primary dealers extended to stabilize bond market

SEJONG -- South Korea's finance ministry said Thursday it will extend a package of incentive programs for primary dealers in state bond auctions as part of its efforts to stabilize the bond market.

The ministry introduced the incentive programs for primary dealers, who buy state bonds directly from the government and sell them to the market, in April as it sought to stabilize the bond market in the face of a hike in sales of state bonds to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

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Q2 manufacturing output down in virus-hit Daegu and adjacent areas

SEOUL -- The manufacturing output in the southeastern industrial city of Daegu and adjacent areas, once the epicenter of the new coronavirus outbreak here, fell in the second quarter due to the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, a report showed Thursday.

Daegu and the surrounding North Gyeongsang Province saw the production of auto parts, steel, mobile phones and machinery decline in the April-June period from the previous quarter, according to the report released by the Bank of Korea (BOK).

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Child abuse cases rose over 20 percent last year: lawmaker

SEOUL -- More than 30,000 cases of child abuse were reported in South Korea last year, marking an increase of over 20 percent from the previous year, a lawmaker said Thursday, citing government data.

Authorities received 41,388 reports of child abuse in 2019 and tentatively confirmed acts of maltreatment in 30,070 cases, up 22.2 percent from 24,604 cases in 2018, according to the Ministry of Health and Welfare's data released by Rep. Nam In-soon of the ruling Democratic Party.

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