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Yonhap News Summary

All News 17:46 June 23, 2021

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

(2nd LD) New cases at 2-week high amid variant woes
(ATTN: ADDS vaccine arrivals in para 15)

SEOUL -- South Korea's daily new coronavirus cases spiked to a two-week high of over 600 on Wednesday as virus variants are emerging as another major challenge in the country's virus fight amid the accelerating vaccine rollout.

The country reported 645 new cases, including 605 local infections, raising the total caseload to 152,545, the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) said.

(LEAD) Prosecution questions ex-justice minister over illegal exit ban case
(ATTN: UPDATES with Cho's comments in last 3 paras)

SEOUL -- Prosecutors have questioned former Justice Minister Cho Kuk over his alleged involvement in ordering an illegal travel ban on a former vice justice minister in 2019, prosecution sources said Wednesday.

Cho, who was then the senior presidential secretary for civil affairs, is suspected of playing a role in banning the former vice minister, Kim Hak-ui, from leaving the country in March 2019 and later exercising pressure to stop the prosecution from investigating the case.

BTS sets new chart records in Japan with 'Butter,' new EP

SEOUL -- Superband BTS has simultaneously topped three weekly categories on a key Japanese music chart, becoming the fourth act to set the record, the group's agency said Wednesday.

The septet ranked No. 1 on the weekly digital album ranking compiled by Oricon between June 14-20 with its Japanese-language compilation album "BTS, The Best," according to Big Hit Music. It also topped the weekly album ranking with the same album.

Ex-Justice Minister Choo declares bid to run for presidency

SEOUL -- Former Justice Minister Choo Mi-ae on Wednesday formally declared her bid to run for the presidency.

"By becoming president, I will complete the grand social reform that (the DP) promised to the citizens of the candlelight (demonstration)," Choo said, announcing her presidential bid in a YouTube-streamlined event.

Seoul nuclear envoy asks for China to play role in N.K. dialogue

SEOUL -- South Korea's chief nuclear negotiator, Noh Kyu-duk, spoke by phone with his Chinese counterpart Wednesday and asked for Beijing to play a role in efforts to bring North Korea back to the nuclear dialogue, the foreign ministry said.

Noh's first phone call with Liu Xiaoming, China's new special representative on Korean Peninsula affairs, came after U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Sung Kim's visit to Seoul this week for talks with South Korean and Japanese counterparts to discuss ways to resume diplomacy with Pyongyang.

(LEAD) Seoul stocks up for 2nd day on Fed chief's soothing comments
(ATTN: ADDS bond yields at bottom, photo)

SEOUL -- South Korean stocks advanced for the second consecutive day Wednesday as investor concerns of fast tapering was partially eased by the U.S. Federal Reserve's comments that support its accommodative policy. The Korean won fell against the U.S. dollar.

The benchmark Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) rose 12.31 points, or 0.38 percent, to close at 3,276.19 points.


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