S. Korea offers $8m in aid for North via WHO

S. Korea offers $8m in aid for North via WHO
File photo of a railway worker looking up at a portrait of late North Korean leader Kim Il-Sung at a railway station in Hoeryong.

SEOUL - South Korea announced Monday S$6.3 million (S$8.02 million) in humanitarian funding for North Korea through the World Health Organisation, the second such aid package in just over a month.

The South's Unification Ministry said it had also approved aid shipments to the North by a dozen South Korean civic groups worth 2.35 billion won (S$2.7 million).

South Korea cut off government-to-government aid and trade with North Korea in 2010 after a series of incidents including the sinking of a South Korean naval vessel.

Indirect support also plunged, but has been revived under the "trust-building" policy of President Park Geun-Hye who took office in February.

A S$6.0 million dollar payment to the UN children's agency working in North Korea was announced at the end of July.

A few weeks ago, the United Nations appealed for S$98 million to finance emergency food, health and sanitation projects being run by the five of its agencies with offices in Pyongyang.

The UN estimates that nearly 2.4 million North Koreans need regular food assistance and 28 per cent of children under five suffer chronic malnutrition.

After several months of sustained military tensions following North Korea's third nuclear test in February, Seoul and Pyongyang have recently made progress on addressing a number of suspended cross-border projects.

Monday's aid announcement coincided with the first meeting of a North-South committee tasked with re-opening the Kaesong joint industrial zone that was closed in April when tensions were at their height.


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