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Yongcheon Blast: Government Set to Send More Aid to the North

Yongcheon Blast: Government Set to Send More Aid to the North

Posted April. 28, 2004 20:46,   


The government concluded on April 28 that the volume and items of the North’s request for aid for the Yongcheon blast do not surpass the South’s capacity and will hold a ministerial meeting on April 29 at the earliest to determine the overall volume of aid and ways to finance and deliver it.

Once it finalizes the plans, the government will notify the North via an envoy at the bordering village of Panmunjeom. It plans to provide rice, bulldozers, and cement and other relief items before the middle of May, earlier than the North had requested.

Jeong Se-hyun, the minister of unification, explained the plans at separate meetings with the Uri Party and the Grand National Party, and both parties promised full cooperation.

“The aid will be financed by people’s donations and the North-South Cooperation Fund,” Rep. Jeong Se-gyun, who heads the Uri Party’s policy committee, said after meeting with Minister Jeong. “There won’t be additional room in the budget to refill the fund after the aid for the blast victims.”

The Ministry of Unification estimated the volume of the aid at 23.4 billion won.

In related development, Hankwang, the 1,543-ton freight ship of Hanjin Express carrying the first batch of the South’s aid, $1 million worth of emergency medicine, foodstuffs, and blankets, left Incheon on April 28 at noon. It will arrive in Nampo of the North by April 19 at 10:00 p.m.

Separately, the Headquarters for Aiding Yongcheon Victims, an umbrella of 47 NGOs, had a ceremony on April 28 at 3:00 p.m. at the International Terminal 1 of Incheon port to send 10 billion won worth of medicine and living necessities in a ship. The ship’s destination is the Chinese border city of Dandung.