Posted September. 09, 2008 03:28,
The Unification Ministry is considering offering 20 million U.S. dollars to the World Food Program to send food aid to North Korea.
The administration and the ruling Grand National Party have approved sending aid to the North. Eight or nine South Korean humanitarian groups will also be allowed to visit the communist country after this month.
The ministry is listening to the opinions of related organizations.
Since the Unification Ministry intended to offer 20 million dollars in aid, related government agencies are holding negotiations, said a government official. But if there is disagreement, the ministry will cut the amount and it is uncertain when the final decision will be made.
The World Food Program announced a plan to raise 530 million dollars for food aid to the North this year, asking South Korea to pitch in 60 million dollars.
Last year, the U.N. relief agency gave North Korea 20 million dollars in food aid. A Seoul official said the decision was made due to rising international crop prices, but the amount is far too small to buy 50,000 tons of corn that the South had planned to offer the North in May.
After listening to public opinions and going through proper procedures, the ministry will likely finalize the aid decision after Oct. 10, which will mark the 60th anniversary of the North`s ruling Workers Party.
The humanitarian organizations have applied or plan to with the ministry to visit to the North in principle, while the ministry will consult with the National Intelligence Service and the Justice Ministry. The groups include the Korea Sharing Movement; Peace 3000; the South Gyeongsang Unification Agricultural Cooperative; and the South Jeolla Province Civic South-North Exchange Council.