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N. Korea Asks S. Korean Civic Groups for Food Aid

Posted November. 05, 2009 08:02,   


North Korea has asked South Korean civic organizations for urgent food aid, but it has not answered Seoul’s proposal to provide 10,000 tons of corn made Oct. 26.

A civic organization official said yesterday, “The Inter-Korean Reconciliation Council under the (North Korean) Workers’ Party recently spoke to South Korean civic organizations in China, and asked them to provide food aid. It even asked them to send food even if just 50 to 100 tons. It seems the North will not refuse any support even if the amount is far smaller than expected.”

Accordingly, several South Korean civic organizations have begun preparing food aid for the North. More South Koreans have also visited the North to discuss food assistance.

The Korean Sharing Movement has launched a fundraising campaign to provide 10,000 tons of corn for the North by year’s end. The South Korean charity delivered 4,200 tons of corn in early September and another 2,000 tons of corn late last month.

The Good Neighbors International also plans to send 50 tons of corn soon.

The International Corn Foundation founded by Dr. Kim Sun-kwon will send 133 tons of corn to North Korea via Dandong, China. Foundation manager Cha Jeong-hun said, “When we visited North Korea in September, members of the Inter-Korean Reconciliation Council worried that their nation’s food supply was far smaller than enough due to bad crops.”

“Though it has made no official request, we will send food to North Korea. We’ll buy food with money that would’ve gone to purchase fertilizer and farm machines this year.”

Korean Sharing Movement director Kang Yeong-shik said, “Provincial and municipal governments including those of Seoul and Gyeonggi Province have donated money. At the same time, we have launched our own fundraising campaign to provide food for North Korea.”

Certain smaller civic organizations face difficulty coming up with support plans, however, due to a sharp fall in contributions.

kyle@donga.com zeitung@donga.com