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S. Korea OKs additional civilian exchanges with N. Korea

All News 11:19 June 13, 2017

SEOUL, June 13 (Yonhap) -- South Korea on Tuesday approved three additional requests by local aid providers to contact North Koreans despite the North's rejection of civilian inter-Korean exchanges, government officials said.

The move reflects Seoul's resolve to seek civilian engagements with North Korea even as Pyongyang has turned down South Korean civic groups' offer for exchanges.

It raised the number of Seoul's such approvals to 18 since liberal President Moon Jae-in took office May 10.

"The three aid groups asked the government to approve their moves for the purpose of humanitarian assistance," a ministry official said. They are seeking to resume a health care project and support North Korean infants and people with disabilities.

The ministry said Monday that its stance over the resumption of civilian inter-Korean exchanges has not changed despite the North's rejection.

Seoul said last month that it will flexibly consider re-opening exchanges to the extent that the move does not compromise the international sanctions regime.

But North Korea last week spurned local aid and religious groups' move to visit the North in protest of Seoul's support of the latest U.N. sanctions over Pyongyang's missile tests.

It called on South Korea to implement two inter-Korean summit declarations on reconciliation in 2000 and 2007 before the South seeks to revive civilian engagements.

S. Korea OKs additional civilian exchanges with N. Korea - 1


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