A project to provide rice to North Korea, which was launched after the Moon Jae-in administration took office with about 13 billion won budget, was canceled a year and a half later due to North Korea’s rejection. The Unification Ministry announced that it will give up its plan to provide 50,000 tons of rice to North Korea through the World Food Programme (WFP) and withdraw the project budget. While the ministry proposed a plan to provide rice and fertilizer to the North next year, the resumption of the inter-Korean cooperation seems challenging as North Korea refused to accept any support from the South.
The South Korean government decided to provide rice to the North through the WFP in June last year and transferred 11.77 million dollars to the international organization for project management expenses, such as the shipping and distribution of rice and monitoring. The is the first attempt by the current administration to provide rice to the North and the first of kit kind since 5,000 tons of rice was given to the North by the South Korean government in 2010. The government first considered direct support, but chose an indirect method through an international organization due to North Korea’s refusal to discuss.
Even such a plan came to a standstill when North Korea publicly refused to accept rice in opposition against the ROK-U.S. joint military training in July last year, a month after the South’s announcement of the plan.
“The project budget will be recollected as the unused budget transferred from the previous year cannot be retransferred to the following year according to the National Finance Act, said a member of the Unification Ministry. “It is yet to be decided whether a similar project will be implemented next year.”
Oh-Hyuk Kwon firstname.lastname@example.org