Xinhua Asia-Pacific news summary at 0600 GMT, July 8

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NEW DELHI -- India's federal health ministry said Wednesday morning that 482 new deaths due to COVID-19, besides 22,752 positive cases, were reported during the past 24 hours across the country, taking the number of deaths to 20,642 and total cases to 742,417.

"As on 8:00 a.m. (local time) Wednesday, 20,642 deaths related to novel coronavirus have been recorded in the country," said information released by the ministry. (India-COVID-19)

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SEOUL -- U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun said here on Wednesday that his country strongly supports cooperation between South Korea and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK).

"The United States strongly supports inter-Korean cooperation, and we believe this plays an important component in creating a more stable environment on the Korean Peninsula," Biegun told reporters in Seoul after talks with Lee Do-hoon, South Korea's special representative for Korean Peninsula peace and security affairs, according to Yonhap news agency. (South Korea-U.S.-DPRK)

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HONG KONG -- The Office for Safeguarding National Security of the Central People's Government in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) was inaugurated here on Wednesday.

A plaque bearing name of the new office was jointly unveiled at an opening ceremony by Tung Chee-hwa and Leung Chun-ying, both vice chairmen of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, Carrie Lam, chief executive of the HKSAR, Luo Huining, deputy director of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council, and Zheng Yanxiong, director of the newly established national security office. (Hong Kong-National Security Office)

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JAKARTA -- The Executive Board of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) at the 209th session in Paris on Tuesday declared the Toba Caldera in Indonesia's province of North Sumatra as a global geopark, according to the Foreign Ministry here on Wednesday.

"Through this declaration, Indonesia can develop the Toba Caldera through the Global Geoparks Network and the Asia Pacific Geoparks Network, especially regarding the empowerment of the local people," Arrmanatha Nasir, the Indonesian ambassador to France concurrently Andorra, Monaco and UNESCO, said after the declaration. (Indonesia-Park) Enditem

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