SEOUL, June 23 (UPI) -- South Korean Prime Minister Han Seung-soo Monday called for strict quarantine inspection of U.S. beef imports, which are to resume soon.
His call made at a meeting with his ministers comes after the United States agreed not to export beef from cattle older than 30 months as such animals are believed to carry a greater risk of mad cow disease.
The developments follow widespread public protests in South Korea against the April decision by the new government of President Lee Myung-bak to lift a ban on U.S. beef imports imposed in 2003 after reports of mad cow disease in the United States.
To quell the public outcry, which created a crisis for the 4-month-old Lee government, new negotiations were conducted last week to include the new conditions in the beef import deal.
"Please prepare sufficient quarantine inspection measures ahead of imports, fully reflecting the results of the additional talks," said South Korean Prime Minister Han Seung-soo, Yonhap reported. "Our trade officials did their best. I hope the public concerns will be fully resolved."
The report said polls indicated the majority of the people have approved of the modifications in the trade deal.
The South Korean government is likely to begin the quarantined inspections of the beef shipments in a few days, Yonhap said.