Nobel laureates visit Pyongyang

The News International
May 8, 2016

BEIJING: A group of Nobel laureates visited sanctions-bound North Korea over the last week despite objections from South Korea, saying they wanted to extend an olive branch by bringing non-political, academic diplomacy to the isolated nuclear-armed state.

North Korea is largely cut off from the outside world due to sweeping international sanctions imposed on it for its controversial nuclear programme.

The country tested its fourth nuclear device in January.

The government, fearful of foreign influences, also keeps a tight grip on what its people know about the outside world and their interactions with foreigners.

The three laureates - Aaron Ciechanover, Finn Kydland and Richard Roberts - arrived on April 29 for a programme covering mainly academic exchanges at elite North Korean universities in Pyongyang, under the auspices of the Vienna-based International Peace Foundation.

Uwe Morawetz, the foundation's founding chairman, told reporters in Beijing after returning from Pyongyang, that before going he had met with South Korea's ambassador in Bangkok, where the group have their Asian office.