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Seoul sets food aid for North

Dec 22,2001
The government will provide 100,000 metric tons of corn to North Korea through the World Food Program, Unification Minister Hong Soon-young said Friday. The food aid will cost 16 billion won ($12.3 million).

Mr. Hong said details of the support program for the North will be determined after discussions at the National Assembly. "This food aid is a demonstration of Seoul's intention to play a leading role in aiding Pyeongyang in cooperation with the United States," Mr. Hong said. "More food aid will be discussed at the inter-Korean talks."

A contract for the food delivery will be signed with the World Food Program after the consultations with the National Assembly. The corn is likely to arrive in North Korea early next year, officials said.

Seoul will decide the means and time of providing 300,000 metric tons of rice, which have been set aside for the North, only at the inter-Korean economic cooperation talks, ministry officials said.

Regarding the deteriorating condition of the Mount Geumgang tourism business, Mr. Hong said that government projects and private businesses should be distinguished as separate matters based on market principles.

"Although I want the tourism program to continue," he continued, "now is not the proper time to decide how to support the program."



by Lee Young-jong




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