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UNC says it stands ready to approve DMZ entry requests despite coronavirus concerns

All News 09:48 March 05, 2020

SEOUL, March 5 (Yonhap) -- The United Nations Command (UNC) has said it stands ready to approve requests for entry into the Demilitarized Zone separating the two Koreas in order to support aid provision, diplomatic meetings and other inter-Korean projects despite coronavirus concerns.

"Things are quieter since #NorthKorea closed its borders due to #COVID19, but UNC personnel still stand ready to approve & facilitate crossings between the two Koreas," the U.S.-led command said in a Facebook post Wednesday.

The UNC has been the enforcer of the armistice agreement that halted the 1950-53 Korean War.

North Korea has restricted cross-border travel since late January as part of efforts to prevent the new virus from spreading into the country. Pyongyang claims that not a single case of the virus has been reported on its soil.

The UNC's comment came just one day after North Korea expressed displeasure at the office of South Korean President Moon Jae-in complaining about Pyongyang's recent projectile launches.

In a move further straining the already stalled inter-Korean relations, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's sister, Kim Yo-jong, called Cheong Wa Dae "gangster-like" and "foolish" for taking issue with what it calls an "action for self-defence."

The South's Joint Chiefs of Staff said Monday that the North fired two projectiles believed to be short-range ballistic missiles off its east coast in the first such launches since Pyongyang warned early this year it will show off a "new strategic weapon."

Following the launches, the presidential office held an emergency meeting and expressed "strong concern," describing them as "not helpful to the efforts to ease military tensions" on the peninsula.

This photo, captured from the United Nations Command's Facebook account, shows a transportation corridor connecting South and North Korea on the east coast. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

scaaet@yna.co.kr
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