SEOUL, June 11 (Yonhap) -- The following is a summary of inter-Korean news this week.
Unification minister calls for 'maximum flexibility' on joint military exercises with U.S.
SEOUL, June 6 (Yonhap) -- Unification Minister Lee In-young called Sunday for "maximum flexibility" in deciding what to do with joint military exercises with the United States set for August, saying such drills should never serve as a chance to cause additional tensions on the Korean Peninsula.
Lee said on KBS TV's "Sunday Diagnosis Live" that additional consideration should be given to how to deal with the upcoming combined military exercises at a time when the new U.S. policy on Pyongyang has shaped up and a willingness for dialogue is being talked about.
"While comprehensively taking several circumstances into consideration, we should make a final decision on what to do with the combined exercises scheduled for August," Lee said, referring to such factors as the coronavirus pandemic and a need for such exercises to regain the wartime operation control from the U.S.
'Farmland of peace' project will promote inter-Korean cooperation: unification ministry
SEOUL, June 7 (Yonhap) -- The Gyeonggi provincial government's plan to turn an inter-Korean border area into a "farmland of peace" and grow rice there for North Korea could create positive conditions for further inter-Korean cooperation, the unification ministry said Monday.
The provincial government is pushing ahead with the project in cooperation with the Korean Peasants League to transform the area near the Gunnam Dam built in the South Korean border town of Yeoncheon, 62 kilometers north of Seoul, to cope with sudden water discharges from the North, according to the unification ministry.
"We believe that when such humanitarian and environmental cooperation projects are carried out in the area, it will create positive conditions for joint responses against natural disasters, including flood forecasts and warnings, and for further talks over the joint use of water resources," Lee Jong-joo, spokesperson of the unification ministry, told a regular press briefing.
S. Korea continues attempts to call N.K. every day through Panmunjom hotline to no avail: official
SEOUL, June 9 (Yonhap) -- South Korea has been attempting to call North Korea via a cross-border communication line every morning for the past year, but there has been no response from the North, a unification ministry official said Wednesday.
Last year, the North vowed to cut off all communication lines with the South and even blew up an inter-Korean liaison office in its border city of Kaesong in anger over anti-Pyongyang propaganda leaflets coming in from the South.
Still, a communication line set up at the border village of Panmunjom remains active as it has a dial tone. The South has used the line to try to call the North at 9 a.m. every working day, but all calls have gone unanswered, the ministry official said.
Unification ministry has nothing to say about N.K. leader's health amid speculation over weight loss: official
SEOUL, June 10 (Yonhap) -- The unification ministry is keeping an eye on North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's health but currently has nothing to say about any unusual signs amid speculation that he has significantly lost weight, an official said Thursday.
A news report earlier said that Kim appears to have lost a "significant amount of weight" based on the analysis that his wrist watch seems to have been fastened tighter around his wrist during a politburo session of the ruling party last week.
"The ministry is analyzing photos when Kim Jong-un's public activities are reported ... but we have nothing to say about his health issues, and it is not our place to openly comment on it," the official said.
Koreas officially out of running for 2032 Summer Olympics
SEOUL, June 11 (Yonhap) -- Seoul's drive for co-hosting the 2032 Summer Olympics with Pyongyang has come to an end, following a decision by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to name an Australian city as the only candidate up for a member vote next month.
Following its Executive Board meeting on Thursday (local time), the IOC said the fate of Brisbane as the host of the 2032 Olympics will be "in the hands" of its members. In what's expected to be a mere formality, those members will vote on Brisbane's candidacy at the IOC Session on July 21 in Tokyo.
The right to host the competition became Brisbane's to lose in February, when the IOC first put it on the fast track as the preferred candidate without any rival.