(ATTN: UPDATES with details in last 3 paras)
SEOUL, July 23 (Yonhap) — The government is preparing to make an exception to the travel ban on Ukraine, allowing businesspeople to enter the war-torn country for reconstruction projects, officials said Sunday.
The decision follows President Yoon Suk Yeol’s surprise visit to Ukraine earlier this month, during which he promised to provide a package of security, humanitarian and reconstruction assistance.
Since February last year, the government has been maintaining a travel ban for all of Ukraine. But the government plans to exceptionally allow businesspeople to enter the country for the post-war reconstruction programs, officials said.
This is not the first time the government has allowed Korean businesses to enter a conflict zone. In 2007, the government imposed a travel ban on Iraq, but some Korean companies were able to travel there with the exceptional use of their passports.
This week, the Korea International Trade Association plans to host a meeting between trade ministry officials and construction, infrastructure and energy companies interested in Ukraine reconstruction projects. The issue of allowing visits to Ukraine could come up during the meeting set for Tuesday, officials said.
The government is also considering sending a delegation comprising senior government officials and businesspeople to Ukraine for discussions on reconstruction projects reportedly estimated to reach over US$1 trillion.