Foreign Minister Meets with Executive Director of United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) Anthony Lake on Sidelines of 72nd Session of UN General Assembly
- Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha, who is attending the 72nd session of the UN General Assembly, met with UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake on September 19. They took note that since the opening of the UNICEF Seoul office in April 2017, cooperation between the two sides has been further enhanced, and agreed to continue to strengthen the bilateral cooperation.
- Minister Kang said that the ROK, as the twelfth-largest contributor to UNICEF in the government sector (third-largest in the private sector), has been playing leading roles in UNICEF’s activities regarding children’s lives, prosperity, protection and education. She especially said that the ROK has played an important role in efforts to strengthen cooperation between the two sides, including exchanging information and opinions and consulting on projects on a regular basis through the annual ROK-UNICEF policy consultations, which marked the 13th this year (13th meeting took place in April 2017).
- Executive Director Lake expressed appreciation for the ROK’s 12th-largest contribution in the government sector and 3rd-largest contribution in the private sector, as well as its decision to participate in multi-year donation projects in the humanitarian aid sector from this year. He said that it will help UNICEF use financial resources in a flexible manner in the humanitarian aid sector, where speedy responses are necessary.
- The Executive Director also took note that in addition to the contribution from the ROK government, the Korean Committee for UNICEF, as the 4th-largest contributor to UNICEF’s regular budget for 2016, has been playing a central role in the operation of UNICEF.
- Executive Director Lake said that it is the position of UNICEF that humanitarian issues should be handled separately from political situations, and that regardless of the political situation on the Korean Peninsula, humanitarian assistance to North Koreans, especially children, should continue.
In particular, the Executive Director stressed that the nutritional and health status of the North Korean children is very poor, and assistance in the area is urgent.
The Executive Director also explained that UNICEF has been granted access to all regions in North Korea, except for some areas on the North Korea-China border, so that it can monitor humanitarian aid operations. He said that UNICEF is doing all it can to ensure transparency in delivering humanitarian aid to North Korea.
- Minister Kang said that it is also the basic position of the ROK government that humanitarian aid to North Korea should be reviewed separately from the political situation, but the ROK government will make decisions on the matter, including the timing, giving comprehensive consideration to all related issues, including the current state of inter-Korean relations and North Korea’s nuclear and missile provocations.