Seoul Concerned over Visit of Three Nobel Laureates to Pyongyang

Latin American Herald Tribune
April 18, 2016

SEOUL - South Korea expressed concern on Tuesday over the forthcoming visit of three Nobel laureates to North Korea and said it fears Pyongyang will use the visit for "political purposes."

Britain's Richard Roberts (Medicine and Physiology), Norwegian Finn Kydland (Economics) and Israeli Aaron Ciechanover (Chemistry) will hold several conferences in North Korean universities between April 30 and May 6, organized by the nonprofit International Peace Foundation, reported Yonhap news agency Tuesday.

"Our government plans to closely follow (the laureates') activities in North Korea and the possibility they might be used for North Korea's propaganda after the visit," explained South Korean Foreign Ministry spokesperson June-hyuck Cho at a press conference.

According to Seoul, the scientists and the economist are expected to be welcomed with a state banquet and a visit to the birthplace of Kim Il-sung, founder of the country and grandfather of the current leader.

This visit comes at a time of escalating tension in the Korean peninsula after Pyongyang conducted its fourth nuclear test and launched a rocket into space, which the international community believes was a covert missile test.

In response, the UN Security Council imposed harsher trade sanctions on the Asian country in March, while South Korea, the United States and Japan announced further unilateral measures to further stifle the North Korean economy.