[Korea Now Today's Headline] 03/18/THU
1. In a joint statement after the "two plus two" meeting between the top diplomats and defense chiefs from Seoul and Washington, held earlier today, South Korea and the U.S. have reaffirmed that North Korea's nuclear and ballistic missile issues are a top priority.
2. Visiting U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin paid a courtesy call on President 문재인 at 청와대 this afternoon. President Moon highlighted the need for a strong bilateral alliance and continued coordination for denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula.
3. North Korean First Vice Foreign Minister 최선희 said, on Thursday, that any contact from the United States will continue to be ignored unless Washington withdraws its hostile policies toward Pyongyang.
4. On Thursday, South Korea reported 445 new COVID-19 cases, with daily new cases in the 400s for the second consecutive day.
5. Health authorities announced that starting today, ahead of expanding South Korea’s vaccinations program, mock vaccination trainings will be carried out across 17 differents areas nationwide in preparation of operating designated COVID-19 vaccination centers.
6. On Wednesday, local time, Atlanta police took the 21-year-old suspect involved in the spa shootings, and charged him with 8 counts of murder. The police are further investigating the suspect’s claims of “sex addiction” as well as concerns of hate crime.
7. On Wednesday, local time, Myanmar’s overthrown leader Aung San Suu Kyi was charged with accepting 4 payments worth $550-thousand US dollars from a prominent property developer, which may add 15 years to her previous four charges by the military junta.
8. On Thursday, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga made the formal announcement that the country’s current state of emergency will end on March 21, which would be only days before the torch relay for the Tokyo Olympics begins.