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S. Korea mulls postponing UN peacekeeping conference amid pandemic

Troops of the Hanbit Unit, tasked with peacekeeping operations in South Sudan, arrive at Incheon International Airport, west of Seoul, on June 3. (Yonhap)
Troops of the Hanbit Unit, tasked with peacekeeping operations in South Sudan, arrive at Incheon International Airport, west of Seoul, on June 3. (Yonhap)

South Korea is considering postponing the hosting of a UN ministerial conference on peacekeeping operations slated for next year amid the coronavirus pandemic, officials said Monday.

Defense Minister Suh Wook, Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha and other senior officials held a preparatory meeting for the UN conference set for April and discussed adjusting the event schedule "in consideration of the COVID-19 situation and opinions from the UN and member states," the defense ministry said.

"We are considering postponing the event until the year-end," a ministry official said, adding that member countries want the conference to be a face-to-face meeting.

Discussions with member states will take place in December to finalize the plan, the official said.

South Korea plans to invite some 1,300 people from about 150 countries to discuss ways to strengthen technological and medical capabilities to enhance UN peace operations.

During the preparatory session, Suh said the UN conference will serve as an opportunity to discuss in-depth the global security situation and peacekeeping operations in the post-COVID-19 era.

The defense minister said South Korea will propose ways to contribute to the international community in the technology and medical sectors at the meeting.

Kang said the international community should restore the momentum for cooperation and boost effectiveness in the peacekeeping operations through the successful hosting of the meeting, according to the ministry.

The preparatory panel consists of senior officials from relevant government ministries and agencies, including the Ministry of Science and ICT and the National Police Agency. (Yonhap)

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