The Korea Herald


Yoon instructs govt. to thoroughly prepare safety measures for S. Koreans in Israel

By Yonhap

Published : Oct. 10, 2023 - 10:34

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President Yoon Suk Yeol speaks during a Cabinet meeting at the presidential office in Seoul on Tuesday. (Yonhap) President Yoon Suk Yeol speaks during a Cabinet meeting at the presidential office in Seoul on Tuesday. (Yonhap)

President Yoon Suk Yeol instructed the government Tuesday to thoroughly prepare safety measures for South Korean residents and travelers in Israel amid its escalating conflict with the Hamas militant group.

Yoon gave the instruction during a Cabinet meeting, while noting that the conflicts in Ukraine and the Middle East could increase economic uncertainties.

"As the Israel-Palestine situation is turning into a full-scale war, I ask relevant ministries, with the foreign ministry at the center, to thoroughly prepare safety measures for our residents and travelers," he said.

South Korea on Sunday issued a special travel advisory for Israel and urged its nationals to leave via a third country.

The foreign ministry has said no harm has been reported among South Korean nationals in Israel, with their number estimated at 570. An additional 360 people are believed to be traveling in the country, it said.

"Our economy has the highest dependence on external trade in the world," Yoon said, citing the possibility of higher inflation and higher interest rates caused by the uncertainty surrounding Ukraine and the Middle East.

"The government must remain alert and respond closely to external uncertainty factors while doing everything it can to ensure the public livelihood difficulties are not exacerbated," he said, urging all relevant ministries, led by the finance minister, to monitor the economic and financial situations at home and abroad in real time and manage the economic risks.

Yoon also ordered the establishment of a pan-government task force on teen gambling, citing a report by the Korea Problem Gambling Agency that more than 190,000 children in elementary through high school belonged to the "gambling risk group" as of October 2021.

"Opening illegal gambling sites for teenagers is an evil crime that ruins the future of the country," he said, asking the police to carry out thorough investigations and crackdowns on illegal gambling and associated crimes and stressing the importance of government-wide action to block illegal gambling sites and provide addiction counseling and treatment.

Yoon also noted that October is the busiest time of the year when it comes to festivals and events and ordered thorough preparations against safety-related accidents, saying last Saturday's 2023 Seoul International Fireworks Festival was a "good example" of how the police, interior ministry and local governments worked together to ensure a safe event.

Yoon added that the parliamentary audit of the government kicked off Tuesday, and instructed government officials to explain the 2024 budget plan and policies easily and accurately, with the mindset that the audit is an opportunity to explain to the people. (Yonhap)