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People's Daily Online

S.Korea approves 1st civilian contact with DPRK under new gov't

People's Daily Online

(Xinhua) 14:56, May 26, 2017

SEOUL, May 26 (Xinhua) -- South Korea on Friday approved the first civilian contact with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) under the new government of President Moon Jae-in, indicating a gradual resumption of inter-Korean exchanges.

Seoul's unification ministry vice spokesperson Lee Yoo-jin told a press briefing that the government gave a green light to the request by the civic group Korean Sharing Movement for the contact with the DPRK to tackle malaria in border areas.

It was the first approval by the South Korean government of the inter-Korean contact since the DPRK conducted its fourth nuclear test in January last year.

The vice spokesperson reiterated the Moon government's position that Seoul will flexibly review civilian exchanges such as a humanitarian aid within the limits of undamaging the international community's sanctions on the DPRK while sternly dealing with any DPRK provocations.

Earlier this month, the Korean Sharing Movement requested a contact with the DPRK to discuss the humanitarian assistance to the DPRK people. If discussions go smoothly, the civic group's visit to the DPRK could be pushed in early June.

The vice spokesperson said that if any request for its visit to the DPRK and the supply of relief goods is made, the ministry would decide on it according to the inter-Korean relations and the security of the visitors.

About 20 requests for contact with or visit to the DPRK have been made by South Korean civic groups, according to local media reports.

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