Date: Monday, March 28, 2022
Time: 10:30-10:35 A.M.
1. Weekly schedule
Unification Minister Lee In-young will attend a session of the National Assembly’s Foreign Affairs & Unification Committee on the North’s recent long-range missile test today at 2 P.M.
In the afternoon, the Settlement Support Center for North Korean Refugees (Hanawon) will sign a memorandum of understanding with the National Cancer Center and Goyang City to provide medical support for North Korean defectors and promote inter-Korean health and medical cooperation. The Ministry hopes to see this agreement between a government agency, local administrative body and a national medical institution become a successful cooperative model in strengthening medical support for North Korean defectors.
Q. Activities implying that North Korea may be preparing for a nuclear test soon have been detected. What is the Government’s position regarding such developments?
A. The Government has detected signs suggesting restoration work at parts of the Punggye-ri nuclear test site which were destroyed in May of 2018. Accordingly, South Korea and the United States are carefully monitoring the situation. Though we cannot predict the North’s next move, the Government is thoroughly preparing for all possibilities based on close ROK-U.S. cooperation.
North Korea’s nuclear test is a clear violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions, destroys the moratorium it itself has promised to the international community, and poses a serious threat on the Korean Peninsula and around the world.
The Government sternly urges North Korea to immediately stop all such activities and take the path toward dialogue and cooperation as proposed by the South and the international community.
Q. The North’s KCTV broadcast of the Hwasong-17 missile launch has received great attention. What do you believe was North Korea’s intention and background in producing such a report?
A. North Korea claims through media reports, including the Rodong Sinmun and KCTV, that it has launched the Hwasong-17 ICBM on March 24, and continues to publicize that the test was conducted successfully.
The KCTV broadcast of the launch, which ran on March 25, appears to be highlighting the achievements and significance of the launch by portraying the occasion in a more dramatic manner than in the past.
Whatever North Korea’s intentions may be, we urge the North to immediately stop acts that create tension on the Korean Peninsula and return to dialogue and negotiations.
Q. North Korea’s propaganda outlet recently criticized the Ministry’s 2022 Unification White Paper. What is the Ministry’s take on such publications?
A. The Ministry has taken note of the recent increased frequency and level of criticism presented by North Korean propaganda media on a number of issues, including the South’s Unification White Paper and the Government’s position about the North’s missile tests.
As the Government has maintained that it does not comment on claims by North Korean propaganda outlets, it will not provide a direct response to the series of recent criticisms against the South.
The North must recognize that mutual respect is the basis for the improvement of inter-Korean relations, as well as a matter that the two Koreas have agreed upon on a number of occasions. It needs to stop releasing unilateral criticism using harsh language.
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