S. Korea changes UN peacekeeping forum to virtual sessions on omicron concerns: official

02-Dec-2021 Intellasia | Yonhap | 5:02 AM Print This Post

South Korea has decided to host a major UN peacekeeping conference via video link next week, instead of an originally planned face-to-face session, due to concerns over the spread of the omicron coronavirus variant, according to Seoul officials Wednesday.

The 2021 Seoul UN Peacekeeping ministerial will be held in the form of a “full-fledged online conference” on December 7-8 as scheduled, a foreign ministry official told reporters.

Foreign minister Chung Eui-yong and Defense minister Suh Wook will co-chair the event, with the UN peacekeeping chief, Jean-Pierre Lacroix, and two other senior UN officials present in person, the official said.

“The UN office expressed its support for our government’s decision (over the conference) considering the current virus situation, while communicating with related nations,” the official said.

It was supposed to bring together around 400 attendees from more than 100 nations, including foreign and defense ministers, at a hotel here, promising to be the first and largest ministerial meeting on UN peacekeeping taking place in Asia. It is designed to evaluate the ongoing missions and make pledges to improve their performances.

Under the new format, however, they will be able to join the session via videoconferencing to be livestreamed on YouTube and UN Web TV. The final list of participants has yet to be confirmed, the ministry said.

It added that the government has also decided to postpone two other diplomatic events a forum involving foreign ministers from 10 African nations and an annual gathering of the heads of South Korea’s diplomatic missions abroad till early next year. The two were slated to be held later this month.

Meanwhile, South Korea is expected to use the upcoming PKO conference to announce a decision to provide more than a dozen choppers to support African missions and propose a smart camp model based on digital technologies.

It is also to put forward some measures to improve medical services and training programmes for engineering units in the Southeast Asian nations.

“The UN is most in need of mobility. We plan to send the reconnaissance choppers for African missions,” the official said, without elaborating.

South Korea joined the UN in 1991 and deployed its first peacekeeping unit to Somalia in 1993. At present, a total of 569 troops are working as part of peacekeeping missions in five nations, including South Sudan and Lebanon.



Category: Korea

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