The United Nations Security Council has granted a sanctions exemption for equipment needed in North Korea for video reunions of families separated by the Korean War on humanitarian grounds. It is the first sanctions exemption granted after the summit breakdown between North Korea and the U.S. in Hanoi, Vietnam at the end of last month.
The U.N. Sanctions Committee on North Korea approved South Korea’s request to permit transportation of equipment to the North for video reunions, according to UN diplomatic sources.
The committee consists of 15 UNSC members and makes its decisions by consensus. No member voted against the request, which means it was a unilateral approval. Last year. the UNSC approved exemptions on 17 North Korea sanctions, including six requests made by South Korea such as two rounds of inter-Korean summits and joint railway inspection of the two Koreas.
Now South Korea can send equipment and resources such as cameras needed for video reunions to be held in video conference rooms in Seoul and Pyongyang. Adopted in 2005, the video-based reunions have been held seven times. The video conferencing equipment needs repairs as it had not been used since 2007.
The two Koreas will start preparing for the reunion by working with the Red Cross and others. Many argue that video reunions must resume as most of the separated family members are old and have mobility difficulties. President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un agreed to resolve video reunion and video letter exchange issues first in the Pyongyang Joint Declaration in September.
Yong Park firstname.lastname@example.org