Nobel laureates to visit North Korea for 'silent diplomacy'

Taipei Times
April 18, 2016

A trio of Nobel laureates are to take part in a "humanitarian" visit to North Korea later this month, even as suspicions grow that Pyongyang is preparing to carry out a fifth nuclear test.

The Vienna-based International Peace Foundation, which is organizing the trip, yesterday said it is an exercise in "silent diplomacy" that would focus on topics such as economic policy and medical development.

The three laureates from Norway, the UK and Israel, who won their Nobel prizes for economics, medicine and chemistry respectively, are to give speeches and hold seminars with students at some of North Korea's elite schools, including Kim Il-sung University.

"The events will not engage in rhetoric by making political statements," the foundation said in a statement.

"Listening to and engaging with the young generation of [North Korea] may be a gateway to establish a dialogue, which could contribute to a wider understanding beyond politics and power play," said International Peace Foundation founding chairman Uwe Morawetz, who has visited North Korea six times over the past two years to prepare the visit.

The April 29 to May 6 dates mean the visit might coincide with a fresh North Korean nuclear test.