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Yonhap News Summary

All News 13:02 August 06, 2021

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

(LEAD) South Korea to maintain toughened social distancing rules for two more weeks

SEOUL -- South Korea will extend its tough social distancing restrictions for two more weeks, Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum announced Friday, as the country struggles to contain the spread of COVID-19.

The measure to ban private gatherings of more than two people after 6 p.m., including in restaurants, will remain in place in Seoul, Gyeonggi Province and the western port city of Incheon through Aug. 22, according to Kim.

New cases over 1,700 for 3rd day; virus curbs extended for 2 weeks

SEOUL -- South Korea's daily new coronavirus cases remained in the 1,700s for the third straight day Friday amid few signs of a slowdown, triggering the extension of the toughest level of virus restrictions for two additional weeks.

The country added 1,704 COVID-19 cases, including 1,640 local infections, raising the total caseload to 207,406, according to the Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA).

(LEAD) Top diplomats of S. Korea, U.S. agree on efforts for N.K. engagement in phone talks

SEOUL/WASHINGTON -- Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken agreed to make continued efforts to engage with North Korea and foster lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula during their phone talks Friday, the foreign ministry said.

The talks came after last week's restoration of inter-Korean communication channels fueled hopes for the resumption of nuclear diplomacy with North Korea, though growing optimism for dialogue was tempered by the North's warning that the planned South Korea-U.S. military exercise would cast clouds over inter-Korean relations.

Biden gov't likely to seek incremental sanctions relief for N. Korea: CRS report

SEOUL -- The U.S. government appears to envision offering partial sanctions relief in exchange for North Korea taking denuclearization steps but such "incremental" sanctions relief would be difficult to move forward without congressional support, a congressional report showed Friday.

That is because the sanctions on the North are targeting not just the country's weapons development but also a host of other issues, such as human rights abuses, money laundering, international terrorism and cyber operations, the Congressional Research Service (CRS) report said.

FM Chung to take part in ARF meeting on peninsula, regional security

SEOUL -- Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong was set to attend a regional security forum via video link Friday, as South Korea seeks to secure global support for its renewed push to resume dialogue with North Korea following last week's restoration of inter-Korean communication lines.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Regional Forum (ARF) -- a rare multilateral forum involving North Korea -- will bring together top diplomats of 27 countries, including the United States, China, Japan and the European Union.

(2nd LD) S. Korea logs current account surplus for 14th month in June on robust exports

SEOUL -- South Korea posted a current account surplus for the 14th straight month in June as exports remained solid amid the global economic recovery, the central bank said Friday.

The current account surplus reached US$8.85 billion in June, compared with $10.76 billion the previous month, according to the Bank of Korea (BOK). The current account is the broadest measure of cross-border trade.

Paralyzed nursing assistant recognized as country's 1st industrial accident victim related to COVID-19 vaccination

SEOUL -- A nursing assistant who suffered paralysis following vaccination for the coronavirus was recognized as a victim of industrial disaster Friday in the first such case in South Korea.

The state-run Korea Workers' Compensation & Welfare Service, under the Ministry of Employment and Labor, concluded that the nursing assistant should be eligible for various state benefits and financial compensation under the Industrial Accident Compensation Insurance Act, saying her health conditions were closely related to her job.

(Olympics) S. Korean baseball team to take last shot at medal vs. Dominican Republic

TOKYO -- Bronze may not be the medal that the South Korean baseball team wanted to win at the Tokyo Olympics, but it will have a chance to salvage at least that third-place prize Saturday.

South Korea, the 2008 Olympic baseball champion, will face the Dominican Republic in the bronze medal game at noon Saturday at Yokohama Stadium in Yokohama, south of Tokyo.

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