Chief of Swiss-based Red Cross to visit S. Korea this weekend

SEOUL, Aug. 22 (Yonhap) -- The chief of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) will visit South Korea this weekend to discuss global humanitarian assistance to needy countries, including North Korea, the foreign ministry said Thursday.

Peter Maurer, the president of the Geneva-based humanitarian institution, will arrive Sunday for a three-day visit that includes meetings with President Park Geun-hye, and the ministers of the country's foreign affairs, unifications and defense ministries, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

He will be the first ICRC president to visit South Korea since 1972.

Since Tuesday, Maurer has been on a four-day visit to North Korea. After the North, he is scheduled to make a three-day visit to China before flying to the South.

His trips to the two Koreas come as the sides are scheduled to meet on Friday to discuss holding a reunion event for families separated after the 1950-53 Korean War that divided the peninsula in half.

Red Cross entities of the two Koreas work as intermediaries for hosting family reunions.

During Maurer's visit, the foreign ministry plans to sign a memorandum of understanding with the ICRC that calls for promoting cooperation in emergency humanitarian cooperation and South Korea's increased participation in the aid group's activities, the ministry said.

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