Regular Briefing by Spokesperson Koo Byoungsam
February 20, 2023
Time: 10:30-10:33 A.M.
1. Minister’s Schedule
From 10:30 A.M. today, Unification Minister Kwon Youngse is meeting
with members of the Korea-Germany Unification Advisory Committee,
which will share the experiences of German reunification and its
implications for unification on the Korean Peninsula.
After the meeting, Vice Minister Kim Ki Woong will discuss the
agenda for the 2023 Korea-Germany Unification Advisory Committee.
On February 22 at 8:00 A.M., Minister Kwon will deliver a lecture at
a forum on recent trends on the Korean Peninsula and the Government’s
policy on unification and North Korea, and at 3:00 P.M., he will
attend and deliver remarks at the general meeting of the Ministry’s
2023 policy advisory council, and present certificates to newly
Q) At the National Assembly’s Foreign Affairs and Unification
Committee, Unification Minister Kwon Youngse mentioned that the food
crisis in North Korea was not at such a level that deaths from
starvation were continuing, but the NSC said otherwise. Also, the
stance of the Ministry released yesterday in relation to Kim Yo Jong’s
statement seems there are numerous deaths from starvation.
Could you clarify whether the Ministry made the corrections due to a
mistaken judgement or whether there was updated source of starvation
deaths identified in the meantime?
A) North Korea’s food situation is closely shared among relevant
agencies, which evaluate that the food crisis in some regions is seen
serious with continuous starvation deaths.
However, the Minister’s comment at the National Assembly refers to
the sense that the North’s food situation is not as much as during the
Arduous March when large-scale deaths from starvation occurred.
Q) Minister Kwon mentioned at the Foreign Affairs and Unification
Committee that North Korea had requested aid from the WFP, but an
official from the WFP told the VOA that there was no official request
from North Korea for food assistance. Could you also clarify this?
A) It is not appropriate to disclose details regarding the meeting
between the Minister and the head of an international organization.
However, although it may be difficult to consider as an official
request, we recognized circumstances in which North Korea wanted to
receive WFP assistance from the meeting between Minister Kwon and the
Executive Director of the WFP.
The Minister’s comment that there was a request from North Korea at
the National Assembly came from briefly explaining the situation.
Q) Could you confirm what Minister Kwon mentioned that the WFP and
North Korea were not able to reach an agreement due to differences in
their stances on the monitoring issue?
A) Yes. That is correct.