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Yonhap News Summary

Politics 13:30 June 26, 2020

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

(LEAD) New virus cases rebound; community spread, imported cases on steady rise

SEOUL -- South Korea's new coronavirus cases bounced back again Friday amid a steady rise in cluster infections and imported cases, putting continued strain on the country's efforts to contain further virus spread.

The country added 39 cases, including 27 local infections, raising the total caseload to 12,602, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC).

(LEAD) More virus infections reported in relation to Seoul church, hotel

SEOUL -- New coronavirus infections traced to a central Seoul hotel and a major church were reported Friday amid concerns that the metropolitan area is facing a second wave of the infectious virus.

A man working at the men's sauna at the Four Seasons Hotel in Gwanghwamun, central Seoul, has tested positive, according to hotel officials.

N.K. propaganda outlet resumes anti-Seoul criticism over 'subservient' attitude to U.S.

SEOUL -- A North Korean propaganda outlet on Friday accused South Korea of being subservient to the United States in inter-Korean policy, resuming anti-Seoul criticism that state media abruptly halted earlier this week after weeks of bellicose rhetoric and threats.

Tongil Voice, a propaganda radio station, criticized South Korea for depending on the "working group" meetings it has held with the U.S. to coordinate North Korea policy, saying that Seoul continues to make a "foolish attempt to gain something" from Washington at a time when inter-Korean relations are on the verge of falling apart.

HDC's Asiana acquisition delayed to H2 amid pandemic

SEOUL -- HDC Hyundai Development Co.'s planned acquisition of Asiana Airlines Inc. has been delayed to the second half due to the new coronavirus' impact on the airline industry, industry sources said Friday.

In December, the HDC-Mirae Asset Daewoo consortium signed a deal to acquire the country's second-biggest airline from Kumho Asiana Group, with a plan to complete the acquisition by June 27.

Defense chief thanks Colombia for Korean War participation, vows staunch posture for peace

SEOUL -- Defense Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo vowed Friday to maintain a staunch readiness posture for peace on the Korean Peninsula as he honored Colombian and other Korean War veterans' sacrifice and commitment.

Jeong made the remarks during a ceremony hosted by the Colombian Embassy to mark the 70th anniversary of the onset of the 1950-53 Korean War and Colombia's participation. Colombia was the only Latin American nation to fight alongside the South during the war.

S. Korea approves US$75.5 mln in aid for developing nations combating pandemic

SEJONG -- South Korea's finance ministry said Friday it has approved US$75.5 million in health care aid for 13 nations to better combat the coronavirus pandemic.

The approval is part of the nation's plans to provide more than $400 million in loans and grants to developing nations this year to help them push for health projects against the novel coronavirus.

S. Korea to suffer 1st population decline this year: vice finance minister

SEJONG -- South Korea's population is expected to decline this year for the first time since the nation began compiling data, as the number of monthly births has hit a record low, Vice Finance Minister Kim Yong-beom said Friday.

In April, the number of births fell on-month for the 53rd consecutive month and South Korea has seen a natural decline in population since November last year, Kim said.

S. Korea pledges $7.5 million aid for Sudan's response to COVID-19, economic development

SEOUL -- South Korea will offer US$7.5 million worth of aid to Sudan this year to help with the African country's response to the new coronavirus and its social and economic development, the foreign ministry said Friday.

Vice Foreign Minister Lee Tae-ho unveiled the plan during the Sudan Partnership Conference on Thursday, a videoconference that Germany, the United Nations, the European Union and Sudan co-hosted to back Sudan's political transition, economic reforms and humanitarian efforts.

(2nd LD) Trump pays respects at Korean War memorial on 70th anniversary of outbreak

WASHINGTON -- U.S. President Donald Trump paid his respects at the Korean War Veterans Memorial on Thursday, the 70th anniversary of the start of the war.

Trump and first lady Melania Trump placed a wreath and offered a silent prayer in front of a monument depicting the soldiers who fought in the three-year conflict.

U.S. names N. Korea worst human trafficking nation for 18th year

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. State Department on Thursday designated North Korea as one of the worst human trafficking nations for the 18th consecutive year.

The department's annual Trafficking in Persons Report said the North Korean government did not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and did not make significant efforts to do so, leaving it in the lowest category of Tier 3.

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