South Korea donates $10 million food aid to North Korea

by Muizat Hameed
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South Korean government has donated $10 million (11.9 billion won) to North Korea via a World Food Programme (WFP) aid project, under which it will provide essential food and nutrition for hundreds of thousands of young children and women.

This was announced by the Ministry of Unification on Thursday August 6, 2020, during a meeting of the Inter-Korean Exchange and Cooperation Promotion Council.

The ministry also clarified that the provision did not breach the international sanctions imposed on the North for its nuclear and missile programs.

The Unification Minister, Lee In-Young said, “This decision will serve as a starting point for the government to consistently provide humanitarian aid to the North regardless of the political and military situation.”

He explained that, Last year, the South made a donation of 50,000 metric tons of rice and $4.5 million in cash to cover 10 million people suffering from hunger in the drought-hit North.

Lee further stated that this year’s money will be used to provide 9,000 tons of fortified food to 143,000 children under the age of 7 and 31,500 pregnant and nursing women in 60 counties in the North (WFP figures), and 3,600 tons of corn, beans and cooking oil.

According to a ministry official, the WFP requested the aid earlier this year and relevant discussions began in earnest in March.

“We have reached the conclusion that it is the right time to step up with humanitarian aid,” the official said.

“The money will be remitted to the WFP next week and the aid is expected to arrive in the North around the end of the year, meaning that North Korean people will benefit starting next year,” he said.

In response to speculation that the aid may either be diverted to the military or fund the nuclear weapons and missile programs, the official said that the food-assistance branch of the United Nations is well equipped with a monitoring system, having an office in Pyongyang.

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