Unification Minister Mulls Resumption of Aid to North

  • Arirang News

    November 07, 2011 09:59

    Unification Minister Yu Woo-ik expressed a willingness to consider resuming humanitarian assistance to North Korea via the UN during his meeting with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Saturday.

    Speaking to Yu at his official residence in New York, Ban raised the need to help tackle the dire situation in the communist state, where malnutrition among infants is reported to be severe.

    Ban explained that when three generations of a family are malnourished, it wreaks inevitable damage on their DNA. This could lead to sickness and other problems, which would add to the financial burden of unification further down the line.

    Yu vowed to consider sending treatments and medical equipment to the North first and then food for vulnerable groups later on through UN agencies like UNICEF, the World Health Organization, or the International Vaccine Institute.

    In the past, Seoul made contributions through those same agencies, supplying food and vaccines to children and women in the reclusive state. But the government withdrew all of its financial support for those programs in May 2010 following the sinking of the South Korean warship Cheonan.

    Since then, the government has ceased all humanitarian aid to the North, although non-government entities have continued to send goods.

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