S. Korea to provide 50,000 tons of rice as food aid to N. Korea via WFP
정부, WFP 통해 국내산 쌀 5만톤 북한에 지원... "9월 이내로 전달"Seoul will offer food aid to Pyeongyang, in addition to the 8 million U.S. dollars its donating to UN agencies to provide humanitarian assistance to the regime. Officially, 50-thousand tons of rice will be sent through the WFP.Oh Jung-hee has our top story. 50-thousand tons of domestic rice are soon to be shipped as food assistance to North Korea via the World Food Programme.That's a plan South Korea's unification ministry announced on Wednesday."Considering the North's food situation, and after consulting with the World Food Programme, the government has decided to first provide 50,000 tons of rice in aid, hoping it can be delivered to the North Korean people as soon as possible."The government says that there's been communication between Seoul and the WFP, as well as between the WFP and Pyeongyang,... which led to an agreement on this food aid among the three parties.The South Korean government is now getting ready to fine tune details, such as routes and dates regarding the aid delivery, with the WFP.Once all preparations are over, Seoul will hand over the rice to the WFP at a South Korean port, putting the WFP at the helm of the delivery process until the aid reaches North Korea. "The government will do its best in making sure the food is delivered quickly, by September if possible. The government will decide on when and how much additional food aid will be sent to North Korea, after seeing how this one turns out."This is the tenth time South Korea is providing rice to North Korea.South Korea had provided rice to the North occasionally from 1995 until 2010... as loans or contributions to help the regime cope with natural disasters, such as flood damage.But these were Seoul's direct assistance to the North... and it's the first time for Seoul to send rice through the WFP. In early May, the WFP and Food and Agriculture Organization announced that over 10 million people in the North or about 40-percent of the population are suffering from food shortage... and that almost 1-point-4 million tons of food aid are necessary to counter the crisis.Seoul says it can't turn a blind eye when the people of North Korea are in need of assistance.The government adds that the food aid will help in not only reigniting the two Koreas' reconciliation process, but also contribute to creating a positive atmosphere for negotiations between Pyeongyang and Washington.Oh Jung-hee, Arirang News.