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Yonhap News Summary

Diplomacy 13:30 July 08, 2020

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

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(LEAD) Biegun says U.S. 'strongly' supports inter-Korean cooperation

SEOUL -- U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun said Wednesday that Washington "strongly" supports inter-Korean cooperation, calling it an "important component" in creating a more stable environment on the Korean Peninsula.

Biegun, who doubles as Washington's top nuclear envoy, made the remarks as South Korea has been seeking U.S. cooperation in its push for cross-border cooperation projects stalled by international sanctions.

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(2nd LD) New infections rebound to over 60, imported cases surge to 3-month high

SEOUL -- South Korea's daily new virus cases bounced back to above 60 on Wednesday as cluster infections in major cities and imported cases do not show signs of letting up.

The country added 63 cases, including 30 local infections, raising the total caseload to 13,244, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC).

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Samsung to unveil new smartphones online in early August

SEOUL -- Samsung Electronics Co. on Wednesday confirmed its new smartphones will be unveiled next month through an online event.

Samsung said the Galaxy Unpacked 2020 will take place on Aug. 5, with livestreaming of the event starting at 10 a.m. (Eastern Time).

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Defense minister, USFK chief hold unannounced meeting amid consultations over key exercise

SEOUL -- Defense Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo held an unannounced meeting with U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) Commander Gen. Robert Abrams this week, sources said Wednesday, as Seoul and Washington have been working to arrange their summertime combined exercise amid the new coronavirus.

Jeong and Abrams held the meeting at the ministry's main building in Seoul on Tuesday "to discuss diverse pending issues," a source said.

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Consumption recovers slightly, but exports remain sluggish over pandemic: KDI

SEJONG -- South Korea's consumption recovered slightly thanks to emergency cash handouts, but exports remained sluggish as the coronavirus pandemic continued to ravage demand, a state-run think tank said Wednesday.

"The slowdown in Korea's consumption has decelerated, but economic activity remains sluggish due to falling external demand on the global spread of COVID-19," the Korea Development Institute (KDI) said in its English-language Monthly Economic Trends publication.

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N.K. leader visits mausoleum to mark late grandfather's death anniversary

SEOUL -- North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has visited a mausoleum for his late grandfather and national founder Kim Il-sung to mark the anniversary of his death, state media reported Wednesday.

Kim paid tribute at the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun where Kim Il-sung's body lies in state, according to the Korean Central News Agency. Also enshrined at the mausoleum is the body of late leader Kim Jong-il, father of the current leader and a son of the national founder.

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U.S. 'disappointed' by S. Korean court's refusal to extradite child porn site operator

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Justice Department said Tuesday it is disappointed by a South Korean court's denial of an extradition request for the operator of one of the world's biggest child porn sites.

The department provided a statement by acting U.S. Attorney Michael Sherwin of Washington, D.C., in response to a Yonhap query about the Seoul High Court's decision on Monday.

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Value of Japan's exports to S. Korea hits 11-year low in May

SEOUL -- The value of Japan's exports to South Korea sank to a near 11-year low in May due to the coronavirus pandemic and Tokyo's export controls, data showed Wednesday.

Japan shipped 329.3 billion yen (US$3 billion) worth of goods to its neighboring country in May, down 18 percent from a year earlier, according to the data from the Korea International Trade Association (KITA) and the Japan Tariff Association.

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Moon set to ask lawmakers to hold hearing on unification minister nominee

SEOUL -- President Moon Jae-in will soon request formally that lawmakers hold confirmation hearings on his picks to serve as unification minister and head of the state intelligence agency, an official said Wednesday.

Moon plans to submit related documents to the National Assembly within the day, which ushers in the start of a parliamentary process on the nominations of Lee In-young, a four-term lawmaker of the ruling Democratic Party, as unification minister and Park Jie-won, a former minor opposition party lawmaker, as chief of the National Intelligence Service.
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