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South Korea to provide $8 mn humanitarian aid to North Korea

ANI  |  Asia 

on Friday said it would provide USD eight million as to help North Korea's malnourished children and pregnant women, as the communist country faces severe and a crisis caused by its worst harvest in decades.

"The government has decided to first provide funds for international organisation projects (eight million dollars) including Program's (WFP) nutrition support program for North Korean children and pregnant women and UNICEF's maternal and child health care project," the country's said in a statement.

"The government, while garnering public opinion on to North Korea, will review specific options for including direct government support and funding international organisations," the statement said.

has, however, made it clear that it would not regard the current stalemate in talks over the North's nuclear programme as a reason to deny the aid, the ministry said.

The sum of money represents funds that the South had originally planned to donate in 2017, through the WFP and the Children's Fund (UNICEF).

But the donation was shelved after launched a ballistic missile over that year and Shinzo Abe, Japan's leader, argued for delaying it, reported.

The WFP and the announced this month that about 10 million North Koreans, or nearly 40 per cent of the North's population, were facing ""

On Wednesday, said it was experiencing its worst in 37 years, raising fears that crops due to be harvested next month, like wheat and barley, will also suffer.

The has also raised concern over cases in which may likely be reported in the coming months "if no proper and urgent humanitarian actions are taken."

hopes good-will gestures like the aid package will help persuade to return to dialogue with the It has said that supports the idea of the South providing

The UN has imposed a series of tough sanctions on the North over its nuclear program since 2016, which have deprived the country of important sources of income, as well as undercutting its ability to import food.

The UN sanctions do not prohibit to the North. But as its nuclear and missile work has escalated in recent years, international relief agencies have been unable to collect substantial donations for chronically malnourished children and nursing mothers in North Korea.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, May 17 2019. 22:00 IST