SEOUL, Sept. 1 (Yonhap) -- South Korea has called for member countries of a regional health security forum to work together to encourage North Korea to take part in the forum on pandemics and other challenges, the foreign ministry said Wednesday.
Second Vice Foreign Minister Choi Jong-moon made the appeal in a speech during a virtual working-level session of the Northeast Asia Conference on Health Security -- a forum launched late last year at President Moon Jae-in's suggestion to foster joint efforts to handle pandemics and other diseases.
The participating countries consist of South Korea, the United States, China, Japan, Russia and Mongolia. Seoul has invited Pyongyang to join the forum, but it has remained unresponsive.
"The vice minister called on the participating countries to continue working together to encourage North Korea's participation so that the forum can contribute to peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and in Northeast Asia," the ministry said in a release.
They also agreed to continue joint efforts to produce tangible results from cooperation projects, like the creation and sharing of a reserve of medical supplies among the countries in the region as a joint response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
South Korea has provided Mongolia with US$300,000 worth of coronavirus test kits as part of a trial run of the reserve project.
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