SEOUL, Dec. 30 (Yonhap) -- Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha has voiced hope for North Korea to join a new regional cooperation forum to tackle public health crises like COVID-19, stressing the forum will help foster peace on the Korean Peninsula and beyond.
Kang made the remarks during an inaugural session of the Northeast Asia Conference on Health Security on Tuesday. The dialogue platform is based on an initiative that President Moon Jae-in proposed in September for regional cooperation in handling pandemics and other challenges.
"I hope to welcome North Korea to this initiative in the near future. Its participation would surely be in the public health interest of North Korea," Kang said, noting the two Koreas are "bound in a single community of life and safety."
"The spirit of inclusive cooperation and solidarity that the initiative would nurture would also strengthen the efforts to lay the groundwork for peace and prosperity on the Korean Peninsula, Northeast Asia and beyond," she added.
Kang also expressed hope that the initiative would build a platform to exchange participating countries' experiences with COVID-19 and develop into a more comprehensive architecture for addressing other emerging health risks.
"By addressing challenges together, we will be able to unleash the full potential for cooperation among regional partners," she said.
Tuesday's virtual semi-government session brought together government officials and civilian experts from South Korea, the United States, China, Japan, Russia and Mongolia.
N. Korea's suspension from Olympics augurs ill for Seoul's peace efforts
IOC suspension of N. Korea latest wrinkle in inter-Korean sports cooperation
Hotline restoration raises hopes for inter-Korean summit, resumption of nuclear talks
N. Korea's withdrawal from Tokyo Olympics dampens hope for renewing inter-Korean sports cooperation
Sino-U.S. tensions, tighter China-N.K. ties feared to weaken denuke efforts