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Yonhap News Summary

All News 13:30 June 09, 2021

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

(LEAD) New virus cases back over 600; vaccination drive on smooth path

SEOUL -- South Korea's daily new virus cases bounced back to over 600 Wednesday due to sporadic cluster infections as the country's inoculation drive gains traction on increased vaccine supply.

The country reported 602 more COVID-19 cases, including 581 local infections, raising the total caseload to 145,692, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said.

(LEAD) Overseas group tours for vaccinated people may be possible from July: ministry

SEOUL -- South Korea is pushing to allow overseas group tours of fully vaccinated citizens to nations with stable virus response measures as early as next month amid a nationwide vaccination campaign, the transport ministry said Wednesday.

The plan comes as the country's inoculation rate reached 16.5 percent as of Tuesday. Also, the plan is part of efforts to revive the air travel and tourism industries hit by the pandemic and the number of people hoping for the resumption of overseas tours was growing.

(2nd LD) S. Korea's Q1 economic expansion faster than expected at 1.7 pct

SEOUL -- South Korea's economy grew slightly faster than expected in the first quarter, thanks to a robust recovery of exports and facility investment, inching the nation's economic growth closer to the pre-pandemic level, central bank data showed Wednesday.

Asia's fourth-largest economy grew 1.7 percent in the first quarter from three months earlier, 0.1 percentage point higher than earlier expected, according to preliminary data from the Bank of Korea (BOK).

(2nd LD) Job additions stretched to 3rd month in May

SEOUL -- South Korea reported job growth for the third straight month in May, data showed Wednesday, in the latest sign that the job market is recovering from slumps caused by the pandemic.

The number of employed people reached 27.6 million last month, 619,000 more than a year earlier, according to the data compiled by Statistics Korea.

(LEAD) U.S. lowers travel advisory for S. Korea to lowest Level 1

WASHINGTON -- The United States on Tuesday lowered its travel advisory for South Korea to the lowest level, which advises people visiting the Asian country to exercise normal precaution.

The State Department said the latest update reflected a low level of COVID-19 infections in South Korea.

Air Force prosecutors' office raided over death of sexually abused soldier

SEOUL -- Defense ministry investigators raided the office of the Air Force prosecution Wednesday over the suicide of a sexually harassed noncommissioned officer amid suspicions a proper probe was not carried out when the victim first reported she was abused, officials said.

The bereaved family of the late master sergeant, surnamed Lee, have claimed that the Air Force tried to cover up the sexual harassment case by trying to persuade her to reach a settlement with the perpetrator while failing to launch an immediate probe.

Defense chief apologizes over suicide of sexually abused soldier

SEOUL -- Defense Minister Suh Wook apologized Wednesday over the suicide death of a sexually harassed female noncommissioned officer, vowing to conduct a thorough probe and overhaul the military's system of handling sex crimes.

It is the first public apology the defense chief has issued after the late Air Force master sergeant took her own life on May 22, around three months after she was groped and suffered other abuse by a colleague of the same rank.

(News Focus) S. Korea faces balancing act at G-7 summit

SEOUL -- South Korea faces a tricky diplomatic balancing act at the upcoming Group of Seven (G-7) summit in Britain, with the United States keen on using the gathering to rally major democracies against an assertive China, analysts said Wednesday.

President Moon Jae-in plans to attend the G-7 session slated to take place from Friday to Sunday in Carbis Bay in Cornwall, Britain. South Korea is not part of the club of wealthy nations but has been invited as a guest, along with Australia, India and South Africa.

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