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Summary of inter-Korean news this week

All News 16:00 November 27, 2020

SEOUL, Nov. 27 (Yonhap) -- The following is a summary of inter-Korean news this week.

Unification minister renews calls for inter-Korean virus cooperation amid criticism

SEOUL, Nov. 20 (Yonhap) -- South Korea will push actively ahead with cooperation with North Korea once coronavirus vaccines and cures are developed, Unification Minister Lee In-young said Friday, after coming under fire for calling for sharing coronavirus vaccines with the North.

"When vaccines and treatment for COVID-19 are developed and distributed in the near future, a new environment will be created in the Korean Peninsula in which people and goods can come and go," Lee said during a meeting with medical experts Friday.

The remark came two days after Lee said the South should share coronavirus vaccines with the North even if the country runs short of its own supplies. The remark prompted criticism from conservatives as it came at a time when the country has yet to secure vaccines.

Defense chief vows to safeguard peace with strength on N.K. attack anniversary

SEOUL, Nov. 23 (Yonhap) -- Defense Minister Suh Wook vowed Monday to safeguard peace and prosperity on the Korean Peninsula with strength as he marked the 10th anniversary of North Korea's deadly artillery attack on a South Korean border island.

The shelling on Nov. 23, 2010, of Yeonpyeong Island, a front-line island near the Yellow Sea border, marked the North's first attack on South Korean territory since the 1950-53 Korean War. Two Marines and two civilians were killed.

"True peace needs to be supported by strong power," Suh said in a commemorative speech during a ceremony held at a national cemetery in the central city of Daejeon. "We will establish a strong defense posture and protect the Korean Peninsula's peace and prosperity in order not to repeat the past pain."

Unification minister says breakthrough in inter-Korean ties could come 'sooner than expected'

SEOUL, Nov. 23 (Yonhap) -- Unification Minister Lee In-young on Monday called on South Korean conglomerates to prepare for possible inter-Korean cooperation despite the current stalled relations, stressing that a breakthrough in cross-border ties could "come sooner than expected."

Lee made the remark at a meeting with officials from South Korean conglomerates, including Samsung Electronics, SK Group, LG Group and Hyundai Motor Group, whose leaders accompanied President Moon Jae-in during his visit to Pyongyang for his third inter-Korean summit in September 2018.

"We cannot rule out the possibility of economic cooperation between the two Koreas that may come sooner than expected and is not necessarily something in the far future if we have the opportunity to see flexibility in North Korean sanctions, progress in nuclear talks and the development of coronavirus vaccines," Lee said.

Unification minister calls for food, fertilizer aid to N. Korea

SEOUL, Nov. 26 (Yonhap) -- Unification Minister Lee In-young said Thursday that South Korea should provide food and fertilizer aid to North Korea next spring at the latest to help the impoverished nation address chronic food shortages.

"There are warnings that the coronavirus is crippling production and supply chains for crops, and climate change is making things worse, which will likely cause extreme famine and difficulty in securing food," Lee said at an international forum in Seoul to discuss ways to realize a world without hunger.

"Against this backdrop, we cannot help but think about North Korean residents suffering from a triple whammy of the fallout from flood, the coronavirus and sanctions," he added. "If necessary, South Korea should seek to cooperate with the North at a right time through such ways as (provision of) food, fertilizer and others around spring next year."

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