Today we welcome back a guest we had on our program a few months ago - Dr. Stephen Linton, the founder and chairman of the Eugene Bell Foundation. Founded in 1995, the charity works to provide medical humanitarian assistance to North Korea, specifically in the treatment of drug-resistant tuberculosis. Dr. Linton returned from a visit to North Korea last month, and he has graciously come on our show to tell us more about the current situation. Thank you for coming back on our show.
Thank you for having me.
1 - You recently visited North Korea. How have things changed since your previous visit. What did you see?
2 - After you came back from the visit you held a very passionate press briefing here in Seoul. You described the status in North Korea at the moment as ‘an emergency situation’. How desperate is the situation?
3 - You also talked about how this situation could also affect South Korea as well. Can you elaborate further?
4 - I understand you also bring with you some good news today. I understand the UN has confirmed your request to be given exemption from international sanctions on North Korea. Can you tell us about that?
5 - Do you think the current atmosphere of improving relations with North Korea played a part in this confirmation?
6 - Hardliners and security hawks could argue that sanctions are there to put pressure on North Korea to denuclearize and that any exemptions, even for humanitarian purposes, would ease that pressure and run counter to what they are trying to do. What would your response be to that argument?
7 - There has been an atmosphere of inter-Korean cooperation over the last year. In fact, the two Korea’s held talks on medical exchanges earlier this month. It was the first time talks on this subject was held in 11 years, and the two sides pledged to launch a pilot program to exchange information on contagious diseases. You have been actively involved in this field with North Korea for over 20 years now, what did you make of these talks?
8 - What is next for Eugene Bell? (You also revealed in your press conference that facility is being built in Kaesong. Can you tell us more about that?)