President Yoon Suk Yeol has ordered the government to make it clear that financial support won't be provided to North Korea as the regime continues to develop nuclear weapons.
According to presidential office spokesperson Lee Do-woon, Yoon gave the order to the unification ministry during a Cabinet meeting on Tuesday after being briefed on the publication of a North Korean human rights report.
Yoon said that publicizing the reality of the human rights situation in the North is also important in light of national security and called for efforts to promote true facts about the regime's human rights, politics, economy and society through various channels at home and abroad.
On whether Yoon's latest directive also applies to humanitarian aid, an official from his office said the unification ministry's stance on aid efforts to help solve the humanitarian crisis the North Korean people face remains unchanged.
Regarding media reports that a speech by President Yoon before a joint session of the U.S. Congress is being arranged for his state visit in May, the official said it is not appropriate to make a statement before an official announcement by the host country.
The official did mention, however, that a host of preparations are reportedly under way for the South Korean leader's visit coinciding with the 70th anniversary of the Seoul-Washington alliance.