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Vice unification minister meets UN special rapporteur on NK human rights

Vice Unification Minister Suh Ho met with a UN special rapporteur on human rights in North Korea on Monday and discussed the issue of North Korean escapees held in China and other matters.

The special rapporteur, Tomas Ojea Quintana, said after the meeting that he also discussed the need for humanitarian aid for North Korea. But he did not provide details of his discussions.

UN special rapporteur on human rights in North Korea Tomas Ojea Quintana (Yonhap)
UN special rapporteur on human rights in North Korea Tomas Ojea Quintana (Yonhap)

Quintana arrived in South Korea earlier in the day for a five-day visit, during which he plans to hold a series of talks with ministry officials as well as North Korean defectors and civic group representatives.

The rapporteur's trip is part of a broader effort to gather information for a report that he is to submit to the UN general assembly in October.

It marks his sixth visit to South Korean since taking office as the special rapporteur on North Korea in 2016. He last came to Seoul in January.

Quintana is set to hold a press conference on Friday to share the outcome of his visit.

Later in the day, Vice Foreign Minister Lee Tae-ho also met with Quintana and voiced hope for better cooperation between North Korea and the UN on human rights issues, which he said would lead to the practical enhancement of rights situations in the communist country, according to Seoul's foreign ministry.

Last month, North Korea attended the UN Human Rights Council's universal periodic review session held in Geneva to look into its rights record.

Noting that the UN has been focusing on dialogue and engagement with the North to improve its human rights conditions, Quintana stressed the need for the international community to encourage Pyongyang to expand its cooperation with the outside world, according to the ministry. (Yonhap)