SEOUL, Feb. 23 (Yonhap) -- Unification Minister Lee In-young renewed calls Tuesday for building a joint response system with North Korea against infectious diseases to better cope with growing threats from global pandemics.
Lee made the remarks during a seminar on inter-Korean cooperation in public health, noting that creating a joint system does not necessarily mean providing unilateral help to Pyongyang but is also a way of protecting "oneself and one's family."
"South and North Korea must resume building a response system against infectious diseases and exchange information, as agreed by the two sides" in inter-Korean summits in 2018, Lee said.
"Starting with the coronavirus cooperation, the government will open doors for 'coexistence and peace' and lay the foundation for a safe biotic community through a comprehensive initiative on humanitarian cooperation in various fields, including public health, natural disasters and climate," he said.
South Korea has been exploring ways to kick-start stalled inter-Korean relations through joint efforts against infectious diseases.
The North, however, has not responded to Seoul's offers for talks and cooperative projects, while focusing on warding off an outbreak of the coronavirus on its soil by sealing its border and toughening quarantine measures.