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South Korea Considers Rice Aid for North


South Korea's ruling party says Seoul is considering resuming food aid to North Korea, but the government's main arm for handling relations with North Korea is denying any plans to do so.

Grand National Party spokesman Ahn Hyoung-hwan said government leaders are reviewing the issue after a meeting Sunday with the party's chairman. However, South Korea's Unification Ministry said Monday the government's stance on assistance remains unchanged.

Meanwhile, China has evacuated more than a quarter of a million people from its side of the North Korean border following severe flooding.

The Yalu River, which separates China and North Korea, has risen to its highest level in a decade.

In northeastern China's Gansu province, authorities have forbidden Zhouqu townspeople from digging through debris left by a devastating landslide earlier this month. They say the search for the missing could spread disease.

Almost 4,000 people are either dead or missing across China as a result of flood-related incidents this year.

Decades of deforestation have left North Korea particularly vulnerable to landslides and flash floods. A chronic lack of fuel and equipment has limited the country's ability to respond to floods caused by rain, which in turn affects harvests and worsens food shortages.

North Korea's agricultural sector has been devastated by floods and drought in recent years.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.

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