ROK to donate $6.3m to DPRK

According to Yonhap:

South Korea will give US$6.3 million won in humanitarian aid to North Korea through a United Nations agency, the unification ministry said Monday.

The move comes as Seoul has maintained it will provide assistance to underprivileged people in the North regardless of political and diplomatic developments.

Inter-Korean tensions that spiked in the first half of this year have eased in recent months with the two Koreas engaged in talks to fully reopen the factory park in Kaesong and hold family reunions for people separated by the 1950-53 Korean War on Sept. 25-30.

“The money to go to the World Health Organization (WHO) will help repair medical facilities, train healthcare workers and give essential drugs to the North that can help all people,” a unification ministry official said.

The funds will come from the inter-Korean cooperation fund managed by the state with final approval to be given by the South and North Exchange and Cooperation Promotion Council.

Besides money to be sent to the WHO, Seoul plans to allow 12 civic groups to send 2.35 billion won (US$2.13 million) worth of aid to the North in 13 different projects, the ministry official said.

This move will mark the second time that the Park Geun-hye administration has allowed humanitarian aid to reach the North. The last shipment was approved in late July when Seoul said it would send $6.04 million to the North through the U.N. Children’s Fund and allowed 1.47 billion won in aid to be sent by five civic groups.

The aid to be provided by private charity groups includes medical supplies, baby formula, vitamins, soup, soy milk, supplies to make nutritionally fortified bread and stationary for children, he added.

Charity groups such as the Eugene Bell foundation, Human Earth Organization, Headquarters of Zero Tuberculosis World, Movement for One Corea, Korea Foundation for International Healthcare and Korea Love One groups want to send humanitarian supplies to the North.

The official said that compared to the last aid that focused on giving aide to newborns, young children and pregnant women, the latest move aims to help all people in need of assistance.

“Final approval will be made following confirmation that local relief organizations have received assurance of transparent distribution of the aid from Pyongyang, and they have acquired the necessary supplies to send to the communist country,” he said.

Related to the aid plan, various international organizations, including the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, claimed the North will likely suffer from a food shortage this year.

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S. Korea to give US$6.3 mln in humanitarian aid to N. Korea
Yonhap
2013-9-2

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