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(LEAD) N. Korea stays mum on Seoul's call for cooperation against spread of swine fever

North Korea 21:39 September 19, 2019

(ATTN: ADDS KCNA report in 5th para)

SEOUL, Sept 19 (Yonhap) -- North Korea has not yet responded to South Korea's proposal for cooperation to prevent the spread of African swine fever following the outbreak of the highly contagious and deadly animal disease in border areas, a unification ministry official said Thursday.

The South has confirmed two cases of African swine fever this week at pig farms located near its border with the North. The cases came after North Korea reported its first confirmed case of the disease in May.

On Wednesday, the South informed the North of the latest cases through their joint liaison office in the border town of Kaesong and asked for quarantine cooperation.

"No response has been delivered yet (from the North)," the ministry official told reporters.

Meanwhile, the North's state media, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), reported the outbreak of African swine fever in the South on Thursday, citing South Korean broadcaster MBC.

Since May, North Korean media outlets have reported nationwide efforts to prevent the disease. They have yet to confirm any additional cases.

Some are raising the possibility that the disease could have spread across the border from the North.

Seoul has called for close cooperation with the North to stem the spread of the disease across the border but the North has stayed mum on the proposal amid all-but frozen inter-Korean relations.


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