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Yonhap News Summary

Yonhap News Summary 13:30 June 21, 2021

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

(LEAD) New infections back under 400, virus fight hampered by rising variants, pandemic fatigue

SEOUL -- South Korea's new coronavirus cases fell below 400 in about a week on Monday due to fewer tests over the weekend, but rising COVID-19 variant cases, along with pandemic fatigue, are hampering the country's virus battle amid the accelerating vaccinations.

The country reported 357 new cases, including 317 local infections, raising the total caseload to 151,506, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said.

(3rd LD) U.S. envoy hopes N. Korea will accept offer to meet 'anytime, anywhere without preconditions'

SEOUL -- The United States has offered to meet with North Korea "anywhere, anytime without preconditions" and looks forward to a positive response from Pyongyang, the new U.S. special envoy for the North said Monday.

Ambassador Sung Kim made the remarks during trilateral talks with his South Korean and Japanese counterparts, Noh Kyu-duk and Takehiro Funakoshi, in Seoul, where they discussed North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's recent remarks that his country should be ready for both dialogue and confrontation.

(LEAD) Exports up 29.5 pct in first 20 days of June

SEOUL -- South Korea's exports rose 29.5 percent on-year in the first 20 days of June on the back of robust demand for chips, autos and petroleum products, customs data showed Monday.

The country's outbound shipments stood at US$32.4 billion in the June 1-20 period, compared with $25 billion a year earlier, according to the data from the Korea Customs Service.

PPP's approval hits highest point since 2016 presidential corruption scandal: Realmeter

SEOUL -- The approval rating of the main opposition People Power Party (PPP) has reached its highest point since a far-reaching corruption scandal surrounding former conservative President Park Geun-hye in 2016 dealt a crushing blow to the party, the latest opinion poll showed Monday.

In the Realmeter survey of 2,514 voters nationwide conducted from Monday to Friday last week, the PPP garnered 39.7 percent of support, up 0.6 percentage point from the previous week.

S. Korean Olympic chief clinging to hope for N. Korean participation in Tokyo 2020

SEOUL -- South Korea's top Olympic official is holding on to hope that North Korea will change its mind and participate in the Tokyo Summer Games after all -- however slim those chances may be.

Lee Kee-heung, head of the Korean Sport & Olympic Committee (KSOC) and a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), said in a recent interview that North Korea's status for Tokyo 2020 will remain up in the air until July 5. That's the deadline for countries to submit their Olympic entries.

Defense minister vows to beef up space tech after lifting of curbs on missiles

SEOUL -- Defense Minister Suh Wook said Monday that South Korea will enhance its space defense capabilities and establish a system for combined operations to deal with growing space threats following the recent lifting of U.S. curbs on the country's missile development.

The minister made the remarks in a pre-released message for a forum in Seoul, also describing the lifting as having "great significance" that has opened a new horizon for the country's defense industry.

(LEAD) Nearly 80 pct of S. Korean consumers increase online shopping amid pandemic

SEOUL -- Nearly 8 out of 10 South Korean consumers have increased their online shopping during the coronavirus pandemic, a poll showed Monday.

The survey of 1,000 local consumers, taken by the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry, showed 78.4 percent of the respondents saying their online purchases have risen since the outbreak of COVID-19.

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