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(LEAD) Koreas agree to jointly fight contagious diseases

2018/11/07 14:35

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SEOUL, Nov. 7 (Yonhap) -- South and North Korea held talks Wednesday to discuss ways to jointly fight contagious diseases and expand cooperation on health-related matters.

South Korea's Vice Health Minister Kwon Deok-cheol met with his North Korean counterpart, Pak Myong-su, and other ranking officials at the joint liaison office in the North's border town of Kaesong. The meeting started at around 10 a.m., the government said.

This was the first inter-Korean talks related to health issues in 11 years. The two Koreas previously held similar talks in December 2007.

The two discussed topics, such as how to work together to prevent contagious diseases from coming into the peninsula.

"The two Koreas should join efforts as the countries are located very close and it is possible for contagious diseases to spread through bugs or mosquitoes that cannot be controlled by humans," Kwon was quoted by Seoul's health ministry as saying. "I believe this meeting is an opportunity to touch on various challenges."

   In response, Pak expressed hope that the meeting will lead to people from the Koreas enjoying healthy lives.

In recent months, Seoul and Pyongyang have been holding a series of meetings on various cooperative projects on railway connections, forestry and other areas, all of which they believe will help ease tensions and build mutual trust.

South Korea's Vice Health Minister Kwon Deok-cheol (L) shakes hands with his North Korean counterpart, Pak Myong-su, on Nov. 7, 2018 (pool photo) (Yonhap) South Korea's Vice Health Minister Kwon Deok-cheol (L) shakes hands with his North Korean counterpart, Pak Myong-su, on Nov. 7, 2018 (pool photo) (Yonhap)

khj@yna.co.kr

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