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S. Korea, U.S. officials discuss African swine fever in N. Korea

All Headlines 10:45 June 05, 2019

SEOUL, June 5 (Yonhap) -- South Korea and the United States held working-level talks to discuss the outbreak of African swine fever in North Korea and Seoul's planned food aid to Pyongyang, diplomatic sources said Wednesday.

Rhee Dong-yeol, director-general of the Korean Peninsula Peace Regime Bureau, met with Alex Wong, U.S. deputy assistant secretary of state, over the issues at the foreign ministry in Seoul on Tuesday, according to the sources familiar with the matter.

In the talks, Rhee reportedly briefed the U.S. official on a proposal Seoul has made to Pyongyang of inter-Korean cooperation to prevent the virus. Rhee said Seoul waiting for the North's response.

If the North accepts the offer, South Korea would need U.S. approval on sanctions exemptions for the transport of equipment necessary to take preventive measures.

Vice Unification Minister Suh Ho told reporters earlier that the government needs to consult with the U.S. on its push for cross-border cooperation with the North against the swine fever.

Last month, North Korea reported to the World Organization for Animal Health the outbreak of African swine fever at a farm in its northern region bordering China.

Rhee and Wong also discussed Seoul's plan to send food aid to the North.

The World Food Programme and the Food and Agriculture Organization said in a recent joint report that food shortages in the impoverished communist state are worsening, and called for donations.

A South Korean quarantine official sprays disinfectant on a road in Paju, a city north of Seoul bordering North Korea, on June 3, 2019. (Yonhap)

elly@yna.co.kr
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