September 14, 2017 11:53 pm JST

Seoul weighs $8m in humanitarian assistance to Pyongyang

Aid should come 'without regard to political situation': Unification official

HIROSHI MINEGISHI, Nikkei staff writer

SEOUL -- South Korea is considering providing $8 million worth of humanitarian aid to the North via United Nations programs, a Ministry of Unification official revealed Thursday, the first such assistance package from President Moon Jae-in's administration.

Seoul reportedly would give $3.5 million to the U.N. Children's Fund, or UNICEF, aiming to help children and pregnant women receive vaccines, medicine and nutritional aid. The other $4.5 million would go to the U.N. World Food Program, according to the ministry official.

"The government's basic stance is that humanitarian aid should continue without regard to the political situation," the ministry member said.

A decision is due Sept. 21. Seoul last sent such aid in December 2015.

The official said the move should not be perceived as breaking step with international efforts to build pressure on Pyongyang, but noted that the timing of the package would be based on "consideration of South-North relations as a whole."

Seoul apparently notified Tokyo, Washington and others of its deliberations. Coming on the heels of new U.N. Security Council sanctions against the North, the news has caused a stir in South Korea as well.

Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters Thursday he would refrain from commenting before Seoul made a formal announcement. But "we need to avoid actions that could weaken the pressure on North Korea when international society has united to demonstrate a clear will against" the rogue state, he said.

Get Insights on Asia In Your Inbox

To read the full story, Subscribe or Log in

Get your first month for $0.99

Redeemable only through the Subscribe button below

Once subscribed, you can…

  • Read all stories with unlimited access (5 articles per month without subscription)
  • Use our smartphone and tablet apps

To read the full story, Subscribe or Log in

3 months for $9
SUBSCRIBE TODAY

Take advantage of this limited offer.
Subscribe now to get unlimited access to all articles.

To read the full story, Update your account

Resubscribe now to continue reading.
BEST OFFER:
Only US$ 9.99 per month for a full-year subscription

To read the full story, Subscribe or Log in

Once subscribed, you can…

  • Read all stories with unlimited access (5 articles per month without subscription)
  • Use our smartphone and tablet apps

To read the full story, Subscribe or Log in

3 months for $9
SUBSCRIBE TODAY

Take advantage of this limited offer.
Subscribe now to get unlimited access to all articles.

To read the full story, Update your account

We could not renew your subscription.
You need to update your payment information.