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Yonhap News Summary

Yonhap News Summary 13:30 November 24, 2020

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

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Biegun likely to visit S. Korea next month: sources

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun may visit South Korea next month as part of a multi-nation Asia tour, diplomatic sources here said Monday.

The trip is expected to take place in early December, and Biegun is set to be accompanied by Alex Wong, deputy assistant secretary of state for North Korea, multiple sources told Yonhap News Agency, asking not to be identified.

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(News Focus) Blinken likely to seek stronger alliance, multilateral approach toward N. Korea: experts

WASHINGTON -- U.S. President-elect Joe Biden's pick for secretary of state will likely seek to improve South Korea's relations with Japan as he pushes for multilateral efforts to denuclearize North Korea, U.S. experts said Monday.

The U.S. president-elect selected Antony Blinken, former deputy secretary of state, to be the first Cabinet member of the Biden administration, set to be inaugurated on Jan. 20.

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(News Focus) Biden's pick for top diplomat expected to look to Iran formula for N.K. denuke

SEOUL -- U.S. President-elect Joe Biden's pick for secretary of state is likely to pursue a more realistic approach to North Korea's denuclearization akin to the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal rather than too comprehensive a deal.

Antony Blinken once said the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) aimed at limiting Tehran's nuclear activities would be the "best deal" that President Donald Trump could reach with North Korea despite Trump rebuking it as the "worst deal ever negotiated."

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(2nd LD) New virus cases spike to over 300 again as greater Seoul comes under tougher virus curbs

SEOUL -- The number of new coronavirus cases in South Korea bounced back to over 300 on Tuesday due to a pileup of sporadic infections across the nation, with tougher antivirus rules in place in the greater Seoul area amid a virus resurgence.

The country added 349 more COVID-19 cases, including 320 local infections, raising the total caseload to 31,353, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA).

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PM warns of tough disciplinary measures against public servants ignoring distancing rules

SEOUL -- Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun on Tuesday urged public servants to maintain the utmost level of readiness against COVID-19, warning those who contract the virus by not complying with distancing rules will face grave disciplinary measures.

"In cases of slack discipline in the public sector, such as cases where public office workers test positive by not complying with antivirus measures, we will gravely seek disciplinary measures," Chung said during a Cabinet meeting at the government complex in Seoul.

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Panmunjom tours to remain in operation despite toughened social distancing scheme

SEOUL -- A recently resumed tour program to the truce village of Panmunjom will remain in operation despite this week's toughened social distancing measures against the coronavirus, as necessary preventive steps have already been enforced, a unification ministry official said Tuesday.

The tours to the Joint Security Area (JSA) and other sites inside the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) separating the two Koreas resumed earlier this month after more than a year of suspension due to the outbreak of African swine fever. The maximum number of people allowed to visit the area, however, was halved as part of preventive efforts against COVID-19.

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S. Korea to ban free-range poultry through Feb. amid bird flu outbreak

SEOUL -- South Korea said Tuesday it has decided to ban free-range chickens and ducks until early next year as the nation is struggling to prevent the outbreak of avian influenza.

Local farms will be advised to keep poultry indoors to prevent them from coming in contact with wild birds or their droppings, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.

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S. Korea's consumer sentiment gains for 2nd month in November

SEOUL -- South Korea's consumer sentiment rose for the second consecutive month in November, as the economic outlook improved amid relaxed social distancing measures, central bank data showed Tuesday.

The composite consumer sentiment index (CCSI) came in at 97.9 for November, up 6.3 points from 91.6 recorded for October, according to the Bank of Korea (BOK).

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