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Yonhap News Summary

All News 12:05 July 14, 2020

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

(3rd LD) Next year's minimum wage set at 8,720 won in smallest-ever increase

SEJONG/SEOUL -- A national commission on Tuesday set next year's minimum hourly wage at 8,720 won (US$7.25), raising the legal threshold by the smallest-ever annual increase, as the country faces economic headwinds from the new coronavirus.

Up to 4 million workers, whose current hourly wage is lower than the amount, will be affected by the decision to raise the minimum wage by 1.5 percent, the Minimum Wage Commission said in a statement.

(LEAD) Foreign ministry calls in Japanese diplomat over renewed Dokdo claims in defense white paper

SEOUL -- The foreign ministry called in a senior Japanese diplomat Tuesday to lodge a protest after Tokyo renewed its claims to South Korea's easternmost islets of Dokdo in its latest defense white paper.

Kim Jung-han, director general for Asia and Pacific affairs at Seoul's foreign ministry, summoned Hirohisa Soma, a senior official from the Japanese Embassy in Seoul, to express regret over the annual report and urge Tokyo to withdraw the claims.

New virus cases dip below 40, imported cases still on upward path

SEOUL -- South Korea's new virus cases fell back to below 40 on Tuesday, but a continued rise in cluster infections and imported cases put a strain on the country's efforts to contain the virus.

The country added 33 cases, including 14 local infections, raising the total caseload to 13,512, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC).

Hundreds referred to prosecution on coronavirus-related charges

SEOUL -- South Korean police have referred 545 people to the prosecution seeking indictment on charges of violating rules related to the new coronavirus since late February, the National Police Agency said Tuesday. Of them, 10 suspects were arrested.

A total of 1,207 people had been investigated for allegedly flouting the infectious disease control act as of Monday. Investigation is underway for 606 people while 56 people have been forwarded to the prosecution with non-indictment recommended, the agency said.

N.K. media hints at optimism about S. Korea's new security lineup

SEOUL -- A North Korean propaganda outlet on Tuesday indirectly expressed optimism about South Korea's new national security lineup, citing a pro-unification media outlet in the South saying that high hopes are pinned on the new team.

Earlier this month, President Moon Jae-in shook up the security lineup as part of efforts to break a stalemate in inter-Korean relations amid tensions in the wake of the North's blowing up of an inter-Korean liaison office.

(LEAD) Gov't expected to revoke operation permits for 2 defector groups this week over leafleting

SEOUL -- The unification ministry said Tuesday that it could revoke the operation permits of two North Korean defector groups as early as this week over their sending of anti-Pyongyang propaganda leaflets.

The move comes about a month after North Korea blew up an inter-Korean liaison office in its border city of Kaesong in anger over leaflets criticizing leader Kim Jong-un, saying such leafleting violates a series of peace agreements between the two sides.

Auto exports down 33 pct in H1 amid virus pandemic

SEOUL -- South Korea's exports of automobiles dropped 33.4 percent in the first six months of 2020 from a year earlier, due mainly to the new coronavirus pandemic that has strained global business activities while weighing on consumers' sentiment, data showed Tuesday.

Local carmakers shipped 826,710 units of cars overseas in the January-June period, according to the data compiled by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy. In terms of value, outbound shipments of cars reached US$15.76 billion over the period, also down 27.3 percent on-year.

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