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ICRC president visits Korean Peninsula

20-08-2013 News Release

Geneva (ICRC) – President Peter Maurer of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) touched down in Pyongyang today at the start of an official visit to the Korean Peninsula. The last presidential visit to both States on the peninsula took place 21 years ago.

Mr Maurer will discuss a range of humanitarian topics with senior government and Red Cross officials in the two countries. The plight of the thousands of family members who remain separated by the Korean War, many years after the cessation of active hostilities, will be among the issues addressed.

"This visit, which comes 60 years after the armistice agreement, is an opportunity to reaffirm the ICRC's readiness to help resolve humanitarian issues on the Korean Peninsula," said Mr Maurer. "It also reflects our wish to broaden our exchanges and cooperation with both countries."

The ICRC has had a permanent presence in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea for over 10 years. Together with the national Red Cross, it supports a physical rehabilitation centre in Pyongyang and four provincial hospitals providing physical rehabilitation and orthopaedic surgery. In his talks with the authorities in Pyongyang, the ICRC president will discuss these activities and how they may be developed further.

The visit to the Republic of Korea comes as the ICRC is planning to establish a permanent presence in the country, to better engage with the authorities and the national Red Cross on matters of worldwide humanitarian concern.

Mr Maurer will stay in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea until 23 August. He will then travel to Beijing to attend the award ceremony of the Florence Nightingale Medal, which is bestowed on exceptionally qualified nurses, before flying to Seoul for a two-day visit.

For further information, please contact:
Martin Unternaehrer, ICRC Beijing, tel: +86 139 10 44 92 74
Ewan Watson, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 33 45 or +41 79 244 64 70
Sebastien Carliez, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 28 81 or +41 79 536 92 37


Photos

ICRC and hospital surgeons examine the fractured hand of a patient on the orthopaedic ward. 

South Hwanghae Provincial Hospital, Sariwon city, Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
ICRC and hospital surgeons examine the fractured hand of a patient on the orthopaedic ward.
© ICRC / v-p-kp-e-00006

An ICRC physiotherapist helps a patient during gait training. 

Rakrang Physical Rehabilitation Centre workshop, Pyongyang, Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
An ICRC physiotherapist helps a patient during gait training.
© ICRC / v-p-kp-e-00007

An ICRC ortho-prosthetist gives guidance to a colleague. 

Rakrang Physical Rehabilitation Centre workshop, Pyongyang, Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
An ICRC ortho-prosthetist gives guidance to a colleague.
© ICRC / v-p-kp-e-00008

Nap-time. The ICRC donated food to the orphanage in late 2011 following flooding in the region. 

North Pyeongan Provincial Baby Orphanage, Democratic People's Republic of Korea.
Nap-time. The ICRC donated food to the orphanage in late 2011 following flooding in the region.
© ICRC / v-p-kp-e-00009