South Koreans in North over food aid

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South Koreans in North over food aid

Six officials from a South Korean nongovernment organization entered North Korea yesterday to discuss humanitarian aid.

The Korea NGO Council for Cooperation with North Korea said the visit was in response to an invitation made by the North Korean office for the Korean Council for Reconciliation and Cooperation. The council has offices in both Koreas.

An official from the council said they requested permission to visit the North from the South Korean Ministry of Unification on May 16 and received it on Wednesday.

Six officials from the council, including the president of the council, Park Jong-chul, left for Kaesong yesterday to speak with their counterparts on humanitarian aid for North Korea and transparency on aid distribution in the North.

The South Korean government’s policy since last May is that all South Koreans must apply for permission to visit the North. The visit yesterday was the fourth that the Unification Ministry has given consent for visiting the North since last May, other than regular visits related to the Kaesong Industrial Complex or the Mount Kumgang resort.

Seoul has only recently allowed small amounts of humanitarian aid to cross the border for North Korea’s infants and children since last year’s provocations from the North.

By Christine Kim []

한글 관련 기사 [연합]
북민협, 대북지원 협의차 방북
대북협력민간단체협의회(북민협)가 인도적 지원 협의차 26일 방북했다.

북민협 관계자는 이날 "북한 민족화해협의회(민화협) 초청장을 받아 지난 16일 통일부에 방북 신청서를 제출하고 25일 저녁 승인을 통보받았다"면서 "박종철 회장 등 6명이 오늘 개성을 방문한다"고 말했다.

이들은 북측 민화협 관계자들과 만나 대북지원과 분배투명성 확보 방안 등을 논의한 뒤 이날 저녁 돌아올 예정이다.

이번 방북은 정부가 지난 3월31일 영ㆍ유아 등 북한 취약계층에 대한 인도적 지원을 재개한 이후 개성공단 입주기업 관계자나 금강산관광지구 관련 인원 외 우리 측 인사가 방북하는 네 번째 사례다.

지난 4일 조계종 대표단이 금강산 지역을 방문했고 4월에는 한국종교인평화회의(KCRP)와 민족화해협력범국민협의회(민화협)가 각각 개성공단을 찾아 북측과 대북지원에 관해 협의했다.

정부는 천안함 사건 후속조치인 `5.24조치`에 따라 원칙적으로 방북을 금하되 순수 인도적 지원을 위한 방북은 선별적으로 허용하고 있다.

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