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Press

Press Briefings

본문영역

Regular Briefing by Spokesperson Lee Jong Joo

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고민석
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2021-09-06
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5081

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.

3. Q&A

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 talks?
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.