Date: Monday, September 6, 2021
Time: 10:30-10:37 A.M.
1. National Assembly opens 2021 regular session
The National Assembly’s 2021 regular session kicked off last
Wednesday. Following the opening, the National Assembly will hold
speeches by negotiation group leaders and examine next year’s budget
bills this week, which Unification Minister Lee In-young will also be attending.
From 10 A.M., Minister Lee is attending the inquiry session on
policy of the National Assembly’s Special Committee on Budget & Accounts.
On September 7, Minister lee will attend a plenary session of the
National Assembly’s Foreign Affairs & Unification Committee
regarding budget at 10 A.M.
On September 8 and 9, Minister Lee will attend the Negotiation Group
Leaders’ Speech of the ruling Democratic Party and the People Power
Party respectively. Also on the 9th, the Special Committee on Budget
& Accounts will be holding a meeting with non-economic departments
to examine next year’s budget bills, which the Minister will take part in.
On September 10, Minister Lee will be attending another plenary
session of the National Assembly’s Foreign Affairs & Unification Committee.
2. Other schedule
On Sept. 8, Minister Lee will deliver congratulatory remarks at a
symposium co-hosted by the Korea Environment Institute and the
National Institute for Unification Education. Environmental, energy,
and inter-Korean relations experts will discuss inter-Korean
cooperation methods in achieving carbon neutrality on the Korean Peninsula.
Q. Russian media reported on Sept. 4 that the United Nations
Security Council is discussing easing sanctions on North Korea. Can
the Unification Ministry confirm if this report is true, and what is
the Ministry’s stance on easing North Korea sanctions? Also, will this
issue be discussed between the ROK and U.S. in future high-level
A. There is nothing the Government can confirm regarding
the UNSC’s discussion.
On a separate note, the Unification Ministry has consistently
strived to resolve humanitarian difficulties and improve livelihoods
of North Koreans by taking a more flexible stance on North Korea
sanctions while pursuing comprehensive humanitarian cooperation
measures. The Ministry has also stressed the need to seek flexibility
on projects concerning public infrastructure, such as connecting
railways and roads, in line with future progress in denuclearization
negotiations between the U.S. and North Korea. The Unification
Ministry, while respecting the UNSC’s resolutions, will continue to
review issues surrounding sanctions on North Korea based on a
consensus among the Korean people as well as the international community.
The ROK Government will extensively discuss ways to advance the
peace process on the Korean Peninsula together with the U.S. through
various opportunities, including director-general level talks.
However, it is inappropriate to raise specific agenda at this point in time.
Q. Are there any new developments regarding border closure between
North Korea and China?
A. Preparations to resume trade by land between North Korea and
China have been observed continuously – movements to establish
quarantine facilities along the border area, such as Sinuiju, Nampo
and Uiju have been detected. However, we have not been able to confirm
trade through land.
Q. North Korea has reportedly rejected offers of China’s Sinovac
vaccines. Would it be possible for the North to receive the Sputnik V
vaccine either through Covax or by directly reaching out to Russia?
A. Discussions between North Korea and Covax, or North Korea and
Russia are matters to be confirmed by the relevant countries and
international organizations – the Government has nothing to comment.
However, as jointly responding to infectious diseases such as
Covid-19 is closely linked to ensuring the safety of both South and
North Korean people, the Government will continue to find ways to
cooperate with the North, together with the international community.
We will strive to do so while considering the domestic vaccine supply
situation and the state of public consent.
Q. With many occasions related to inter-Korean relations coming up
in September, what efforts will the Government pursue in an attempt to
improve relations with the North?
A. The Government has consistently pursued the peace process on the
Korean Peninsula, working toward improving inter-Korean relations,
achieving complete denuclearization and establishing permanent peace.
An early restoration of inter-Korean dialogue and cooperation is
essential in advancing the peace process. Though conditions are not at
its best, the Government will continue its efforts to restore
inter-Korean relations through various opportunities. There are key
inter-Korean events in September, including the 30th anniversary of
South and North Korea becoming UN members together and the 3rd
anniversary of the Pyeongyang Joint Declaration. The Government will
make efforts to commemorate these events in a meaningful manner.