The South Korean government will send 8 million U.S. dollars' worth of humanitarian aid to North Korea as early as this week. No progress has been made toward denuclearization but the Moon Jae-in administration is beginning its first government-level humanitarian assistance to North Korea.
According to the South Korean Ministry of Unification on Tuesday, the Inter-Korean Exchange and Cooperation Promotion Council will deliberate documents regarding food aid to North Korea via an international agency by Wednesday and Unification Minister Kim Yeon-chul will make a final approval after that. “(Funds) will be implemented immediately,” said a ministry official. “It usually takes three to four days to inform an international agency of our decision, receive a bank account, and transfer the money.”
Gauging whether North Korea is serious about denuclearization, the Moon Jae-in administration had been delaying the implementation of payment for 21 months after deciding to fund a total of 8 million dollars to humanitarian projects for North Korea by the United Nations Children’s Fund and the World Food Program in September 2017. This time, however, it has decided to “immediately implement” the payment.
It has been three years and six months since South Korea last provided humanitarian aid to North Korea. During the Park Geun-hye administration, South Korea provided 800,000 dollars (approx. 945 million won) worth of humanitarian aid to North Korea in December 2015 through the U.N. Population Fund project to evaluate North Korean public health conditions. The South Korean government also plans to provide food aid to North Korea and permit South Korean businesses to visit the Kaesong Industrial Complex to inspect their assets. Some worry that it could give North Korea the wrong idea since economic assistance to North Korea is being expanded after the North’s missile launch last month.
In-Chan Hwang email@example.com