November 09, 2011 11:10
In an effort to improve inter-Korean relations, the government has agreed to resume medical assistance to North Korea through the World Health Organization.
On Tuesday, the South's Unification Ministry said it approved a plan to send US$6.9 million in humanitarian aid to the North.
The aid was halted in 2009 after the North's missile and nuclear tests that same year. In line with the WHO's five-year medical support program to the reclusive regime, which the body launched in 2006, Seoul originally pledged over $13 million for 2009, but requested that $6.9 million be blocked from disbursement.
During his visit to the U.S. last week, Unification Minister Yu Woo-ik told UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon that he would look into resuming aid to the North through the international body.
Yu stressed that the resumption of medical supplies to the North is targeted at children, women and the elderly and comes despite sanctions imposed in May of last year, after the North's sinking of the S. Korean warship Cheonan.
Meanwhile, Seoul is also mulling additional aid programs with UNICEF and the International Vaccine Institute.
- Copyright © Chosunilbo & Chosun.com