South Korea to donate $8M in humanitarian aid to North

South Korean pastor Lee Jaerock arrives at the Seoul Central District Court to attend his original trial in Seoul in 2018More

South Korean pastor Lee Jaerock arrives at the Seoul Central District Court to attend his original trial in Seoul in 2018More

South Korea has chose to allow its businesspeople to visit their factories at an industrial park in North Korea that was shut down by Seoul's previous conservative government in 2016 following a North Korean nuclear test.

The United Nations and the U.S. have subjected North Korea to numerous sanctions since its first nuclear test in 2006.

"We plan to provide $8 million through worldwide agencies such as the World Food Program (WFP) and United Nations Children's Fund for projects to support the nutrition of children and pregnant women and their health", the South Korean Ministry of Unification said in a statement.

Through the year, North Koreans have tried to survive by consuming 300 grams of food every day, the report stated.

South Korea on Friday announced it would donate $8 million in humanitarian aid to North Korea through worldwide agencies, at a time when its neighbour faces a possible food shortage and drought. About 10 million people, or about 40% of the population, are in urgent need of food.

"Even before this drought, one in five children under five years old was stunted because of poor nutrition".

Any food aid may give a shot in the arm to stalled negotiations between the North, South and US on the denuclearization of the peninsula and the lifting of sanctions, the agency noted.

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During a visit to South Korea earlier this week, WFP Executive Director David Beasley told reporters the body has "very serious concerns" about the situation in North Korea.

The landscape and farmland north of Pyongyang, North Korea, seen from the window of an aircraft, appears parched and desert-like during the country's worst drought in decades.

When South Korea exited Kaesong, it said the North had diverted wages paid to its workers to fund its weapons programmes.

The announcement on Friday came as South Korea desperately seeks to keep alive a momentum for inter-Korean engagement, which has tapered off following the collapse of a high-stakes nuclear summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and President Donald Trump in February over mismatched demands in sanctions relief and disarmament.

Hundreds of thousands of North Koreans were reported to have died from a severe starvation in the 1990s, which forced the country to seek aid from global agencies for the first time.

She said North Korea is trying "to obtain appeasement from South Korea and the US while stressing its military readiness by publicizing its leader Kim Jong-un's latest visits to military bases and shooting exercises".

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