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통일부 로고통일부 로고

Press Briefings

Regular Briefing by Spokesperson Lee Sang Min


Date: Wednesday, January 29, 2019
Time: 10:30-10:37 A.M.

1. Minister's Schedule

Minister Kim Yeon Chul will sit down for a meeting with members of the Korean War Abductees’ Family Union today(1.29) at 3 P.M.

2. Vice Minister's Schedules

Vice Minister Suh Ho will attend the vice-ministers’ conference tomorrow(1.30) at 10 A.M., followed by a meeting with members of the Association of the Families of Victims Kidnapped by North Korea at 3 P.M.

3. Q&A (Partial)

Q. Does the Unification Ministry have plans to suggest quarantine cooperation regarding the novel coronavirus outbreak to North Korea?

A. We will have to see how things turn out domestically first.

Q. The North’s Rodong Sinmun reported that the spread of the novel coronavirus is an issue concerning the fate of the DPRK. Is there a difference in how North Korea is emphasizing quarantine efforts compared to past outbreaks such as SARS or Ebola?

A. We will have to keep an eye on the situation in North Korea. The North has precedents in taking measures against past outbreaks of 2003 and 2015, isolating visitors from countries with confirmed cases and suspending international events and tour programs. Such efforts can be seen as strong preventive measures. It is necessary to carefully observe how the North responds to the coronavirus before making any evaluation.

Q. Did the North declare an emergency quarantine system during the SARS and Ebola outbreaks?

A. We will have to check if the North has made such declaration in the past. However, as we have previously seen the North organizing a State Emergency Anti-epidemic Committee and carrying out quarantine measures, there are similar aspects in the North’s approach.

Q. The North reportedly requested that the South cooperate in wearing masks at the South-North Joint Liaison Office in Gaeseong. Were there any other requests? Also, has the ROK government in turn asked for an explanation on the situation with regard to the outbreak of the coronavirus?

A. Overall, there are moves to enforce preventive measures in the North, and in line with this, Pyeongyang seems to be strengthening quarantine on travel in the border area. We understand that their request to wear masks is part of such efforts. We will let you know of further developments if there are any.