May 05, 2011 09:56
South Korean officials say a group of Buddhists has visited North Korea to deliver medical aid to the impoverished country. An official of South Korea's Unification Ministry said 10 members of the Jogye Order, South Korea's largest Buddhist sect, crossed the heavily guarded border into North Korea Wednesday. The one-day visit was approved by the government in Seoul.
A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Unification, Lee Jong-joo, said the delegation headed for North Korea's Mt. Kumgang resort to deliver 100,000 tablets of vermifuge, a medicine used to destroy intestinal worms.
An official of the Jogye Order, who asked not to be named, said the group also planned to tour a temple on the mountain before returning home later Wednesday. But a plan to hold a joint religious service was dropped because the South Korean government refused to approve it.
Mt. Kumgang resort was a symbol of inter-Korean reconciliation and cooperation, and attracted South Korean tourists until a female tourist was shot dead there in 2008. North Korean security troops shot the woman, saying she strayed into a restricted zone.
Relations between the two Koreas have been strained in the past year following two North Korean military attacks that killed 50 South Koreans.
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