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S. Korea postpones provision of promised Tamiflu to N. Korea: official

North Korea 11:52 January 10, 2019

SEOUL, Jan. 10 (Yonhap) -- South Korea has postponed its promised provision of antiviral medication to North Korea as more preparation is needed for the delivery, a unification ministry official said Thursday.

Earlier, the ministry decided to deliver 200,000 doses of Tamiflu and 50,000 sets of early medical detection kits to the North on Friday. About 10 government officials planned to make a trip to the North's border town of Kaesong to unload the medical materials.

"With regard to the influenza treatment drug provision plan, it was originally to be delivered tomorrow, but it will be delayed a little," a ministry official told reporters on condition of anonymity.

He said more time is required to prepare for the large-scale delivery across the border, saying more consultations between the Koreas are needed.

In December, South Korea announced a plan to provide Tamiflu and early medical detection kits to North Korea. Their leaders agreed in September to closely cooperate in fighting the spread of infectious diseases.

The aid provision plan was drawn up based on information that about 150,000 North Korean people were confirmed to have been infected with influenza from late 2017 to early 2018.

Seoul recently discussed the drug provision plan with the United States through a joint working group session on North Korea to make sure the assistance doesn't violate sanctions.

In 2009, Seoul provided around 400,000 doses of Tamiflu and 100,000 doses of Relenza antiviral drugs to North Korea through a land route across their western border.


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