Nobel laureates to visit North Korea for 'silent diplomacy'

2016-04-18 08:54


Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Seoul - A trio of Nobel laureates will 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 organising the trip, said on Monday it was an exercise in "silent diplomacy" that would focus on such topics as economic policy and medical development.

The three laureates from Norway, Britain and Israel, who won their Nobels for economics, medicine and chemistry, will give speeches and hold seminars with students at some of the North's elite schools, including Kim Il-Sung University.

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

"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," added its founding chairperson, Uwe Morawetz, who has visited the North six times over the past two years to prepare the visit.

The trip is likely to be criticised in some quarters at a time when the focus of the international community is on tightening North Korea's diplomatic and economic isolation.

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

South Korean President Park Geun-Hye confirmed on Monday that increased activity had been detected at the North's nuclear test site at Punggye-ri, suggesting an underground detonation could be imminent.

Numerous analysts have predicted Pyongyang may carry out a fifth test just before a rare ruling party congress next month, at which leader Kim Jong-Un is expected to take credit for pushing the country's nuclear weapons programme to new heights.

No formal date has been set for the congress, but South Korea's intelligence agency says it will likely be held May 7.

North Korea conducted its fourth nuclear test in January, triggering the most extensive UN sanctions to date aimed at cutting funding sources for its nuclear development.

The Nobel laureates will hold a press conference in Beijing after returning from their visit.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.