Aid to North higher under liberal leaders

Aid to North higher under liberal leaders

Another $4.5 million will go to the UN's World Food Program to purchase nutrition-rich food supplies for North Korean hospitals and day care facilities, said the ministry.

The inter-Korean exchange and cooperation committee was chaired by Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon to approve the provision of 8 million dollars to the projects of the World Food Program (WFP) and the UN International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) for infants and pregnant women in the DPRK.

The Kim Dae-jung administration gave $35.46 million the year after Pyongyang carried out its first test in 2006, and the current Moon Jae-in administration is considering its package after North Korea's sixth nuclear experiment on September 3.

If Seoul decides to push through the aid package today, despite Pyongyang's latest missile and nuclear tests, it will be the first time for the local government to give North Korea humanitarian support since December 2015.

The WFP and UNICEF had approached the South Korean government in May and July this year to contribute in aiding North Korea, the statement added.

It was in line with the government's basic stance that its humanitarian aid to Pyongyang would be treated separately from political situations.

Karin Hulshof, UNICEF Regional Director for East Asia and the Pacific, issued a statement on Wednesday calling for more humanitarian aid to the DPRK.

It has dragged down South Korean President Moon Jae-in's approval rating. Fitch has maintained an "AA-" rating, its fourth-highest, for South Korea since June 2012.

"Humanitarian aid should be separated from political situations", said Cho in the meeting.

Reuters reports that, while there is no evidence of wrongdoing by the eight ships, us officials believe that changing their destination and using different firms are signs that North Korea may be complicating efforts to check how much fuel is supplied to the rogue regime.

South Korea's decision to mull over fresh aid to the North has also caused a rift of concern in neighbouring Japan and the United States, according to government officials there, leading Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to bring up the issue during a phone call with Moon last week.

North Korea has conducted two more nuclear tests since then, with its most recent and largest taking place early this month.

Such provocations have sparked strong disapproval from the worldwide community, especially from the United States and Japan.