Xinhua Asia-Pacific news summary at 1600 GMT, June 24

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TOKYO -- Japan stands ready to take appropriate steps against volatile currency moves at "any time," the country's top currency diplomat said Monday, as the yen neared the 160 line against the U.S. dollar, a level that previously prompted authorities to intervene in the market.

Masato Kanda, vice finance minister for international affairs, warned that excessive yen fluctuations negatively affect the economy. "We are ready to take appropriate action at any time," he told reporters. (Japan-yen)

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SEOUL -- A dozen of Chinese nationals were confirmed dead in South Korea's battery plant fire on Monday, according to the Chinese embassy in South Korea.

The embassy said in a statement that the South Korean side preliminarily confirmed that a dozen of Chinese people unfortunately died from the fire accident and it had yet to confirm the detailed death toll. (South Korae-Factory Fire-Death)

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SUVA -- Representatives of the Pacific and security community gathered in Suva on Monday for the inaugural Pacific Regional National Security Conference (PRNSC) to address the region's pressing security challenges.

Held at the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFs), the conference seeks to map out the current and future regional security threats, and support the implementation of the 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent. (Fiji-Security Conference)

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HANOI -- The State Bank of Vietnam has decided to allow commercial banks to reschedule the debt repayment period and maintain the debt group for certain sectors for an additional six months, Vietnam News Agency reported Monday.

The decision will hold until the end of the year, rather than as previously agreed, expiring at the end of this month to support struggling businesses, said the central bank. (Vietnam-Commercial Banks)

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NEW DELHI -- The death toll in the consumption of tainted bootleg liquor in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu has risen to 58, officials said Monday.

Over 150 people are still undergoing treatment at different hospitals. (India-Liquor-Death)

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MANILA -- The Asian Development Bank (ADB) said Monday that it has approved the funding of 56 million U.S. dollars to Kyrgyzstan to improve wastewater management and enhance sustainable and inclusive tourism in the Issyk-Kul region, renowned for its tourist appeal and importance.

The funding comprises a 25-million-U.S.-dollar concessional loan and a 31-million-U.S.-dollar Asian Development Fund (ADF) grant. The ADF grants ADB's poorest and most vulnerable members. (Philippines-ADB-Loan) Enditem

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