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Yonhap News Summary

Yonhap News Summary 13:30 June 15, 2021

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

New virus cases in 300s for 2nd day; vaccinations in higher gear

SEOUL -- South Korea's daily new COVID-19 cases remained under 400 for the second day Tuesday on fewer tests over the weekend as the country's vaccination drive picks up steam with inoculations likely to top 13 million soon.

The country reported 374 more virus cases, including 347 local infections, raising the total caseload to 148,647, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said.

(2nd LD) BTS smashes record as 'Butter' tops Billboard Hot 100 for 3rd week

SEOUL -- Supergroup BTS once again outran its own track record as the summery single "Butter" ranked No. 1 on the latest Billboard's main singles chart for the third straight week.

"Butter" holds at No. 1 with 15.4 million U.S. streams and 138,400 downloads sold in the week ending June 10. It also attracted 24.6 million radio airplay audience impressions (up 10 percent) in the week ending June 13," Billboard said Monday (U.S. time) on its Twitter account.

U.S. supports provision of COVID-19 vaccine to N. Korea

WASHINGTON -- The United States has no immediate plan to directly provide COVID-19 vaccine to North Korea but supports international efforts to assist the impoverished country cope with the pandemic, the State Department said Monday.

"While we have no plans to provide vaccines to the DPRK, we continue to support international efforts aimed at the provision of critical humanitarian aid to the most vulnerable North Koreans," a department spokesperson told Yonhap News Agency, asking not to be identified.

BTS agency's market value tops 10 tln won on band's global popularity

SEOUL -- Hybe Co., the K-pop powerhouse behind BTS, has seen its market capitalization exceed the 10 trillion-won (US$8.95 billion) mark amid the boy band's global popularity, data showed Tuesday.

Shares in Hybe closed at 282,000 won on Monday, up 2.36 percent from the prior session and marking a three-day winning streak.

Samsung likely to unveil new foldable smartphones in August

SEOUL -- Samsung Electronics Co. is likely to unveil its new foldable smartphone in August, industry insiders said Tuesday, amid its push to popularize the foldable category.

The South Korean tech giant is expected to hold its Galaxy Unpacked online event in early August to introduce the Galaxy Z Fold3 and the Galaxy Z Flip3 before officially launching those products later that month, according to the sources.

S. Korea to conduct Dokdo defense drill

SEOUL -- South Korea was to stage an annual military exercise around its easternmost islets of Dokdo on Tuesday after Japan protested the planned drill and called off an agreed-upon summit between the two countries.

The drill, named the East Sea Territory Protection Exercise, will involve the Navy, the Air Force and the Coast Guard, and be staged in a way that minimizes in-person contact given the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Navy.

S. Korea, U.S. hold combined naval salvage exercise

SEOUL -- South Korea and the United States have staged a weeklong naval exercise focusing on combined diving and salvage operations, the Navy said Tuesday.

The Salvage Exercise (SALVEX) Korea 2021 kicked off Wednesday last week in waters off Jinhae on the south coast and was to end Tuesday, bringing together 16 Korean sailors and 17 members of the U.S. Mobile Diving & Salvage Unit, according to the Navy.

10 Air Force members questioned over suicide of sexually harassed soldier

SEOUL -- Military prosecutors questioned 10 Air Force service members and officials in connection with the suicide of a sexually harassed noncommissioned officer amid suspicions they mishandled the sexual abuse case or attempted to hush it up, the defense ministry said Tuesday.

The ministry also said that about 100 people at the two Air Force units, where the victim had worked, went through internal probes last week in an indication that more people would be formally called in for questioning.

Unification ministry calls on N. Korea to restore inter-Korean communication channels

SEOUL -- The unification ministry urged North Korea on Tuesday to restore inter-Korean communication lines immediately as this week marks one year since the cross-border communication lines were suspended.

On June 16 last year, the North vowed to cut off all communication lines with the South and even blew up an inter-Korean liaison office in its border city of Kaesong in anger over anti-Pyongyang propaganda leaflets coming in from the South.

Unification minister puts U.S. trip on hold amid uncertainty over inter-Korean relations

SEOUL -- Unification Minister Lee In-young has put on hold a plan to visit the United States this month considering uncertainty over inter-Korean relations, a ministry official said Tuesday.

Lee had sought to visit the U.S. later this month to discuss a coordinated approach toward North Korea as Washington recently completed its policy review on Pyongyang and renewed its commitment to seeking engagement with the communist state.


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