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Yonhap News Summary

Yonhap News Summary 13:30 June 01, 2021

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

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(3rd LD) Exports recovery extended to 7th month in May on rebounding global economy

SEOUL -- South Korea's exports jumped 45.6 percent on-year in May to extend their gains to a seventh consecutive month due to strong demand for chips amid the global economic recovery, underscoring a rebound from the pandemic-caused slump, data showed Tuesday.

Outbound shipments came to US$50.7 billion last month, compared with $34.8 billion a year earlier, according to the data compiled by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.

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(LEAD) N. Korea slams countries for piling up excessive supply of vaccines amid shortage

SEOUL -- North Korea criticized some countries for storing an excessive stock of coronavirus vaccines while others suffer from a lack of supplies in a recent United Nations session.

In a statement presented at the 74th World Health Assembly last week, North Korea also urged the World Health Organization to help achieve a fair distribution of the vaccines across the globe.

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U.S. aware of N. Korean criticism, remains committed to diplomacy: State Dept.

WASHINGTON -- The United States remains committed to diplomatic engagement with North Korea, the U.S. State Department said Monday, in reaction to the North's criticism of what it calls U.S. hostility toward Pyongyang.

"We are aware of the comments made in the DPRK media," a department spokesman told Yonhap News Agency, referring to North Korea by its official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

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(LEAD) New infections in 400s for 3rd day, virus curbs eased for vaccinated people

SEOUL -- South Korea's daily new coronavirus cases remained in the 400s for the third consecutive day Tuesday, while health authorities are easing distancing rules for vaccinated people to speed up the inoculation drive.

The country reported 459 more COVID-19 cases, including 449 local infections, raising the total caseload to 140,799, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said.

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S. Korea's intelligence chief to return home after weeklong trip to U.S.: sources

SEOUL -- South Korea's intelligence chief is expected to return home Tuesday after a weeklong trip to the United States that apparently focused on discussions with his counterparts on North Korea, sources said.

National Intelligence Service (NIS) Director Park Jie-won had been in the U.S. since his departure on May 26. His trip drew keen attention as it came just days after President Moon Jae-in and U.S. President Joe Biden held a summit and agreed to use diplomacy to resolve the North's nuclear standoff.

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S. Korea, Mercosur bloc hold 6th round of FTA talks

SEOUL -- South Korea on Tuesday held the sixth round of free trade talks with a group of South American countries, after around a year of hiatus amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The two parties kicked off the four-day meeting virtually to set details on the pending trade agreement, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Energy. The previous meeting was held in Uruguay in February 2020.

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May inflation rate probably remained high due to base effect: senior official

SEOUL -- The growth rate of South Korea's consumer prices for May is estimated to have remained high due largely to last year's low base, a senior government official said Tuesday, amid concerns about growing inflationary pressure.

First Vice Finance Minister Lee Eog-weon said the growth of consumer inflation is likely to surpass 2 percent in the second quarter, but annual inflation is not likely to top the central bank's target of 2 percent.

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DP floor leader raises need for another round of universal stimulus checks

SEOUL -- Rep. Yun Ho-jung, floor leader of the ruling Democratic Party (DP), has said the country needs to come up with another round of universal COVID-19 response stimulus checks in time for the national attainment of herd immunity.

"(The government) needs to provide emergency handouts and take measures for grand economic reconciliation as a new strategy to reinvigorate the economy for the post-COVID-19 era," the ruling party floor leader said in an interview with Yonhap News Agency at the National Assembly on Monday.

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