Seoul donates $6.3M aid to children in North

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Seoul donates $6.3M aid to children in North

Seoul said it was donating $6.3 million to help children in North Korea, another sign of a thaw in relations between the South and the North.

“We will sponsor the World Health Organization’s North Korean children support project by donating $6.3 million from the Inter-Korean Cooperation Fund,” said Ministry of Unification spokesman Kim Hyung-suk.

“Following the examination of a request by the multilateral organization, the government decided to support the [$12.6 million] project.”

Use of the inter-Korean Cooperation Fund was largely frozen in May 2010 after the sinking of the warship Cheonan on March 26 of the same year. Of its entire 1.006 trillion won ($ 916.2 billion) budget in 2012, only 6.9 percent was used.

The South Korean government also sanctioned humanitarian assistance to North Korea worth 2.35 billion won by 12 private organizations.

The organization will send 13 categories of goods including flour, stationery supplies, shoes, soybean milk, milk powder and antituberculosis medicine. The government said it will allow the transport of the items to the North once preparations for distribution to people in need are made.

“We will take necessary administrative steps in sending aid to the North once it is ensured that the items will be distributed in a transparent way,” said the spokesman.

The government announcement yesterday was the latest sign of the easing of tensions between the two Koreas. On Aug. 14, Seoul and Pyongyang reached an agreement to reopen the closed Kaesong Industrial Park and are set to hold the first reunions of families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War in almost three years.



BY KANG JIN-KYU [jkkang2@joongang.co.kr]

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