[Korea Now Today's Headline] 05/20/THU
1. On Thursday, South Korea reported 646 new COVID-19 cases, with the current social distancing rules expected to be extended gain due to the number of new daily cases staying above 600 for a second consecutive day.
2. Ahead of South Korea’s mass COVID-19 inoculation campaign for those aged 60 to 74, the booking rate has topped 50 percent among those eligible, while health authorities once again call for active participation.
3. President 문재인 arrived in Washington Wednesday afternoon local time, beginning his official itinerary with a visit to Arlington National Cemetery ahead of his first in-person summit talks with U.S. President Joe Biden scheduled for Friday.
4. South Korea’s Health and Welfare Minister, 권덕철, will be departing for the U.S. on Friday to discuss stronger cooperation for COVID-19 vaccines with U.S. health authorities and vaccine makers.
5. U.S. President Joe Biden will present the highest military medal on Friday, honoring U.S. veteran of the Korean War Colonel Ralph Puckett, Jr. for “conspicuous gallantry” in a ceremony that will also be attended by President 문재인.
6. In time for President 문재인's arrival in Washington, the U.S. House of Representatives put forth a nonpartisan resolution emphasizing the importance of the South Korea - U.S. alliance, calling the alliance the "linchpin" that guarantees peace, security and stability in the region.
7. European Union governments have agreed to allow quarantine-free travel for tourists and visitors from outside countries that have been vaccinated against COVID-19, and also those from countries that have controlled the virus outbreak, which suggests an adoption of a “white list”.
8. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russia’s longtime Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov are set to meet in Iceland, on Wednesday local time, marking the first high-level encounter between the two countries since President Joe Biden took office.
9. On Wednesday, China unveiled the first photographs taken by its six-wheeled robot Martian rover named 주룽(Zhurong), which took pictures displaying the landscape of the Red Planet.