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Press Briefings

Regular Briefing by Spokesperson Koo Byoungsam

Ministry of Unification

2024-05-13

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Date: Monday, May 13, 2024
Time: 10:30-10:36 A.M.

 

1. Minister’s Schedule

On May 13, Unification Minister Kim Yung Ho sat down for a meeting with Slovakia’s Foreign Minister Juraj Blanár at 10 A.M.

At 11:30 A.M., Minister Kim will hold a luncheon meeting with former Unification Ministers.

At 6 P.M., Minister Kim will hold the 6th Evening of Unification.

On May 14, at 10 A.M., Minister Kim will attend the cabinet meeting.

At 2 P.M., Minister Kim will deliver congratulatory remarks at a discussion hosted by the Korea Institute for National Unification.

On May 16, at 10:30 A.M., Minister Kim will deliver congratulatory remarks at the 43rd anniversary event of the Central Association for National Unification of Korea.

At 4:30 P.M., Minister Kim will deliver congratulatory remarks at the unveiling ceremony of the Garden of the Three Forget-me-not Blossoms.

At 6 P.M., Minister Kim will hold the 7th Evening of Unification.

 

2. Q&A

Q. Minister of Foreign Affairs Cho Tae-yul will be holding talks with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi during his Beijing visit. With the Minister noting that he will discuss the issue of China’s forced repatriation of North Korean defectors, I would like to ask if the Foreign Affairs Ministry requested information from the Unification Ministry or discussed the issue in advance.

A. There is nothing to disclose regarding consultations between ministries for diplomatic dialogue purposes.

Q. North Korea test fired controllable shells for the 240mm multiple rocket launcher system on Friday, while leader Kim Jong Un personally mounted a launcher for a trial operation and tested a sniper rifle over the weekend. As such, the North seems to be demonstrating its development of a series of conventional weapons. What is the Unification Ministry’s interpretation of the North’s intentions?

A. The Government, together with related agencies, is closely monitoring North Korea’s production of weapons. The Unification Ministry, however, will not make a separate assessment. Regarding the question about North Korea’s intentions, the Government will closely watch related developments together with the international community without making assumptions.

Q. A civic group for North Korean human rights aĺerted the press that it has sent leaflets to the North today. What is the Unification Ministry’s position on this matter?

A. There is nothing to confirm regarding press reports. The Ministry is approaching issues concerning the flying of leaflets and other items to the North in accordance with the Constitutional Court’s ruling to guarantee freedom of expressiσn.

Q. I have a follow-up question. With the North mentioning a “maritime border recognized by us” on the West Sea, the possibility of provocation exists. This raises the issue of ensuring the personal safety of our nationals. What is the Ministry’s take on this?

A. If necessary, considering on-site conditions, appropriate measures can be taken in accordance with relevant laws and regulations.

Q. Some analyze that the North’s recent series of actions such as the test firing of a new multiple rocket launch system is for arms sales purposes, while others also note that it is a weapon targeting the South. How does the Ministry evaluate the situation from this perspective?

A. The new multiple rocket launch system does target the Republic of Korea. However, the Ministry will not make assumptions on the North’s intentions. Instead, I would like to note that arms trade with North Korea is a clear violation of UN Security Council (UNSC) resolutions, and is an illegal act that undermines international norms.

Q. Various exchanges between North Korea and Russia are underway, with a North Korean delegation from Naseon visiting Russia recently. How does the Ministry analyze such developments?

A. The Ministry is closely monitoring the cooperative relationship between North Korea and Russia. Russia’s responsibility and role as a permanent member of the UNSC weighs heavy. I would like to reiterate that exchanges and cooperation between Russia and North Korea should be pursued in a way that is conducive to peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula, while complying with UNSC resolutions.

Q. Around this time last year, a number of North Koreans defected by sea. Can the Ministry confirm if any North Korean defected via this route this year?

A. Confirming the entry route of North Korean defectors in detail is not possible as it is directly concerned with the personal safety of defectors.

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