South Korean Minister, WHO chief agree to cooperate for North Korea humanitarian

South Korea's Unification Minister Lee In-youngheld a series of meetings with heads of international organisations in Geneva this week to discuss North Korea issues, his office said on Tuesday, amid brisk talks between Seoul and Washington on providing humanitarian assistance to Pyongyang.
Image Courtesy: IANS
Image Courtesy: IANS


Lee met World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Monday and agreed to strengthen cooperation on North Korea's public health issues, according to the Unification Ministry.
"(The two sides) exchanged opinions on North Korea's COVID-19 situation and ways to cooperate in its public health and medical sectors," the Ministry said in a statement.
The meeting took place after the minister accompanied President Moon Jae-in on his latest Vatican visi, reports Yonhap News Agencyt.
On the same day, Lee also met the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) Secretary General Jagan Chapagain and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Vice President Gilles Carbonnier and agreed to continue close communications to push for the reunions of families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War and on other humanitarian issues involving North Korea.
Lee was set to wrap up his Europe visit and return home Wednesday.
The series of meetings came as senior officials from South Korea and the US gathered in Washington on Monday to discuss ways to restart dialogue with North Korea.
Seoul's Foreign Ministry said the two sides had working-level talks to implement various trust-building measures to bring Pyongyang back to the negotiating table.
The Ministry did not provide further details, but Seoul and Washington are known to be at the last stage of coordinating humanitarian assistance to North Korea, such as quarantine supplies.
The North has remained unresponsive to US overtures for talks after their Hanoi summit in February 2019 collapsed without a deal.
On Tuesday, the Korea NGO Council for Cooperation with North Korea sent a letter to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, calling for coronavirus vaccine assistance to North Korea.

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