RoK to feel effects of DPRK policies

According to the Joong Ang Daily:

The northern Gyeonggi area, sharing the border with North Korea, is vulnerable to malaria because the mosquitoes with malaria parasites come from the North. Without vector controls in North Korea, our quarantine efforts are limited.

The spread of malaria had been expected because South Korea has stopped all North-bound shipments of aid, including pesticides and malaria drugs, as part of the sanctions against North Korea following its attack against the naval vessel Cheonan in March.

Health authorities warned in April about a possible breakout of malaria along the border regions. Although they saw the disease coming, nothing could be done about it.

On June 24, the Unification Ministry belatedly permitted a local civilian group to send quarantine aid to North Korea, but shipments have not taken place because of procedural difficulties. Even if the aid is delivered, it will be too late to contain the disease. Any action should have taken place before May.

If the Unification Ministry had seriously considered preventing the spread of malaria from the North, it should not have stopped at approving a delivery of local aid, but instead should have sought support from international groups. From 2001 to last year, the government had been shipping anti-malaria supplies to North Korea via the World Health Organization. This aid protects our people as much as it does North Koreans.

Malaria is not the only adverse result from severed ties with North Korea. The government announced on May 24 that it would cease all inter-Korean trade.

The measure, though understandable, dealt a heavy blow to 800 small- and mid-sized companies whose business primarily involves trade with North Korea. It was motivated by revenge and generated the same adverse fallout as that suffered by the people who have been infected by malaria from the North.

The tardy response to the problems created also proved of little help. The government on July 26 announced it will offer special aid loans to the Kaesong firms to save them from possible bankruptcy. The loans, though cheaper than regular corporate loans, will nonetheless have to be repaid and it may have come too late.

The May announcement of sanctions against North Korea should have included help to our companies to compensate for the damage from the trade sanctions.

Read the full story here:
Hard-line policies affect us, too
Joong Ang Daily
Cho Dong-ho


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