Unification Ministry approves private aid for North’s children

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Unification Ministry approves private aid for North’s children

The South Korean government is sticking to its promise to consider offers of aid from private groups to North Korea as Seoul announced yesterday that two groups had received permission.

According to a spokesman of the Ministry of Unification, World Vision Korea and Join Together Society, both international relief agencies, received approval to give aid to North Korea.

“The approved goods, which include gruel and powdered milk for children in nurseries and orphanages located in north Hwanghae and Ryanggang provinces, are worth 17.6 million won [$16,000],” said Chun Hae-sung, ministry spokesman.

Humanitarian aid for hungry North Korean children was restarted at the end of last month by private groups. The South Korean government does not have plans to give any aid directly.

World Vision Korea will be sending their goods by land on the Gyeongui Line after April 20, Chun said. While JTS will be sending their aid by sea from Incheon to Nampo, the date of the shipment has not been confirmed.

“We plan to consider and approve North Korean aid offers from civilian groups based on the need, urgency and fairness of distribution of the goods,” said the spokesman.

This decision comes after the ministry decided to approve aid offers from the Eugene Bell Foundation and Korean Sharing Movement on March 31. The aid approval last month restarted the flow of aid from private groups into North Korea, which was stopped temporarily by the government as punishment for the shelling of Yeonpyeong Island last November.

As of last month, a total of 54.2 million won of aid from private groups in South Korea was approved. An additional 10 offers have been made from other groups.

The Eugene Bell Foundation will be sending tuberculosis medicine while KSM will send bread and powdered nutritional supplements. The two groups will be delivering 33.6 million won worth of aid.

By Christine Kim [christine.kim@joongang.co.kr]

한글 관련 기사 [머니투데이]

통일부, 월드비전·한국JTS 대북지원 승인

정부는 4일 2개 민간단체의 인도적 대북 지원을 추가 승인했다.

천해성 통일부 대변인은 이날 브리핑에서 "월드비전과 한국 JTS 등 2개 민간단체의 인도적 지원 목적의 물자 반출을 승인했다"고 밝혔다.

천 대변인은 "반출 승인된 물자는 황해북도와 양강도의 탁아소·고아원 어린이들에게 지원될 영양죽과 분유 등으로 1억7600만원 상당의 물품들"이라고 설명했다.

이에 따라 월드비전은 오는 20일 이후 경의선 육로를 통해 황해북도에 지원물품을 보낼 예정이다. 한국JTS는 향후 시기를 결정해 해로를 이용, 지원물품을 반출할 계획이다.

앞서 정부는 지난달 31일 유진벨재단이 신청한 3억3600만원 상당의 내성 결핵약의 대북 반출을 승인, 지난해 북한의 연평도 포격 도발 이후 중단됐던 민간 차원의 인도적 지원을 재개했다.

이어 지난 1일에는 대북지원단체 `우리민족서로돕기운동`이 북한 어린이들에게 지원할 예정인 3000만원 상당의 식품 반출도 승인했다.

천 대변인은 "향후 영·유아 등 취약 계층을 대상으로 하는 민간차원의 인도적 대북지원은 지원필요성, 분배투명성, 지원의 시급성 등을 종합적으로 고려해 사안별로 검토·승인해 나갈 예정"이라고 말했다.

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