Seoul City to carry out N Korea aid projects

13-Nov-2019 Intellasia | KoreaTimes | 6:02 AM Print This Post

The Ministry of Unification has authorised the Seoul Metropolitan government to independently proceed with humanitarian aid projects to help impoverished North Korea.

“The ministry approved the Seoul government’s request to designate the city as an independent planner in proceeding with humanitarian aid projects to North Korea. The approval is aimed at strengthening coordination between the central government and regional cities in getting humanitarian aid projects to North Korea on track,” an official at the ministry told reporters Tuesday.

Last month, the ministry, which handles all inter-Korean affairs, revised regulations giving local governments and cities the autonomy to initiate and lead humanitarian projects in the North. Earlier, regional cities and governments were mandated to team up with private entities in order to handle North Korea-related humanitarian projects.

But it remains uncertain whether Seoul will initiate any aid activities soon, as inter-Korean relations are in bad shape following little progress in North Korea’s denuclearisation talks with the United States.

National Security Office chief Chung Eui-yong admitted that inter-Korean relations were not in good shape as their level appears to have been synced with the progress of the denuclearisation dialogue. A few weeks ago in Stockholm, chief negotiators from Washington and Pyongyang walked away from their working-level discussions after failing to narrow their own prerequisites and conditions in advancing the dialogue.

On early Tuesday (KST), North Korea’s United Nations Ambassador Kim Song said inter-Korean relations were now at a “standstill, without even advancing into the main phase of implementation.” The envoy said this is “attributable to the double-dealing behavior of the South Korean authorities,” which he described as appearing to offer peace initiatives while escalating military preparedness, according to reports.

North Korea recently refused to accept an offer by the South for the provision of 50,000 tonnes of rice via the World Food Programme.


Category: Korea

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