Published: Fri, September 22, 2017
Global Media | By Meredith Barber

Moon to go ahead with $8 million aid to North

South Korea has approved a plan to send millions of dollars worth of humanitarian aid to the North, in spite of Pyongyang continuing to develop nuclear bombs.

The government chose to support infants and pregnant women in North Korea, citing a serious humanitarian crisis facing them, according to Seoul's unification ministry.

President Donald Trump said on Thursday he had signed an executive order that would allow the United States to ramp up sanctions on North Korean firms in an effort to dissuade Pyongyang from pursuing its nuclear missile program.

The decision was finalized Thursday after a vote in a Consultative Meeting on Promotion of Inter-Korean Exchange and Cooperation, a group under the Unification Ministry that's chaired by the minister and includes 12 vice ministers and five members from the private sector.

The South said it aimed to send $4.5 million worth of nutritional products for children and pregnant women, through the World Food Programme and $3.5 million worth of vaccines and medicinal treatments through UNICEF. Cho also noted the severity of the current situation surrounding the Korean peninsula on North Korea's ongoing provocations and the efforts of global leaders being displayed at the UN General Assembly in NY.

"We will proceed with [deciding] the actual timing and size of aid considering comprehensively the overall conditions including the inter-Korean relations".

The ministry said that the global community is sternly responding to North Korea's provocations, but also emphasizing the need to extend humanitarian assistance to North Koreans. "Food and essential medicines and equipment to treat young children are in short supply".

Cho's ministry had said earlier this month they were looking into giving North Korea aid, which launched a backlash of disapproval from both the public and opposition parties.

Realmeter, a South Korean polling organisation, said on Thursday Moon's approval rating stood at 65.7 per cent, weakening for a fourth straight month.

The South Korean president added that his country seeks a peaceful, diplomatic resolution of the North Korea issue and does not seek the collapse of the country.

Moon had said aid was something to be considered separately from political issues, quoted by his office. Trump has made an aggressive stance against Kim Jong Un's regime the centerpiece of his four days at the United Nations General Assembly this week.

"I hope people in North Korea will realize the reason they need humanitarian aid is because they have a dictator leader who is willing to fund a nuclear program, an illicit nuclear program, and doing so starving its own people".

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