South Korea will demand Covid-19 vaccinations and other medical aid for North Korea during the World Economic Forum this week, a senior official said today.
Secretive North Korea denied having Covid for more than two years but acknowledged its first breakout two weeks ago. Since then, it has reported 2.95 million people with fever symptoms, 68 deaths, and a lockdown and other anti-virus efforts.
Na Kyung-won, a special envoy of the South Korean president, told Reuters before flying for Davos, Switzerland, where she will lead South Korea’s delegation.
Na said she would discuss aid for North Korea with ICRC President Peter Maurer, Gavi CEO Seth Berkley, and other political and economic officials.
If direct aid isn’t possible, we can join ICRC projects. She said, “We’ll be pragmatic.”
Na said she wanted interim UN sanctions exemptions to send gasoline and generators to North Korea for vaccine storage.
Former North Korean officials and South Korean lawmakers recommended the sanctions relaxation. “I believe we need exemptions if needed, but it’s concerned that North Korea’s weapons provocations could hinder their goodwill internationally,” she said.
Yoon Suk-yeol and Joe Biden confirmed their willingness to provide North Korea with vaccines last Saturday.
Yoon and Biden said North Korea hasn’t responded to their support offers.
Na said she and her group will study measures to end the crisis and assist Ukraine to rebuild Davos.
“Our government wants to take a more responsible role in regional and global affairs,” she said.