Seoul approves doctor visit to North

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Seoul approves doctor visit to North

South Korea will allow a doctor to travel to North Korea next week. It was the first time a civilian visit to the communist state had been approved since Seoul banned exchanges with Pyongyang in May over the sinking of a South Korean warship, an official said yesterday.

The doctor, accompanied by two drivers, will visit the North Korean border town of Kaesong on Tuesday, Unification Ministry spokesman Chun Hae-sung told reporters. The group is delivering 400 million won ($336,100) worth of anti-malaria aid from a civilian relief group, Chun said.

“The doctor’s visit has been granted because he needs to explain to the North how to use the aid kits,” he said, adding any spread of malaria in the North has the potential to affect residents south of the border.

South Korea has only allowed a handful of infant-related humanitarian shipments to the North since a multinational probe found Pyongyang responsible for the warship’s sinking.

Forty-six South Korean sailors died in the sinking, but North Korea denies any connection. More recently, North Korea has threatened war in response to South Korean military drills.

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