Unification minister to meet chiefs of int’l organs on sidelines of Davos forum

SEOUL– Unification Minister Kwon Young-se plans to meet with chiefs of international organizations next week in Switzerland to discuss North Korea’s humanitarian situations, his office said Thursday.

Kwon will accompany President Yoon Suk Yeol on his visit to the United Arab Emirates and Switzerland from Jan. 14-21, according to the unification ministry. He will attend the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos during the Jan. 16-20 trip to the European nation.

On the sidelines of the so-called Davos forum, Kwon will meet with Catherine Russell, executive director of the U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and David Beasley, head of the World Food Program, according to the ministry handling inter-Korean affairs.

The ministry said Kwon will reaffirm the government’s commitment to providing humanitarian assistance to North Korea regardless of political and military situations.

“The minister plans to discuss the possibility of international organizations resuming (humanitarian) projects in the North following their withdrawals due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He will also discuss ways to bolster cooperation to improve North Koreans’ quality of life,” a ministry official told reporters on condition of anonymity.

In the UAE, Kwon will meet with Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, the tolerance and co-existence minister, to discuss the two nations’ integration policy and ways to strengthen cooperation.

The government said Kwon plans to drum up international support for the South’s “audacious” initiative aimed at helping North Korea develop its economy in return for denuclearization during his upcoming trip.

Kwon will become the first unification minister to attend the Davos forum in 18 years after former minister Chung Dong-young in 2005.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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