News / Asia

After North's Rebuff, S. Korea Looks Elsewhere to Donate Aid

North Korean orphans during a visit from a foreign delegation at their orphanage in the area damaged by recent floods and typhoons in North Hwanghae province September 29, 2011.
North Korean orphans during a visit from a foreign delegation at their orphanage in the area damaged by recent floods and typhoons in North Hwanghae province September 29, 2011.

South Korea says it is looking to donate baby formula originally intended for North Korea to countries in Africa and elsewhere hit by disasters. The formula was part of a bigger aid shipment that was never accepted by Pyongyang.

The South Korean government says consultations are underway with other countries and charity groups about where to donate nearly 300,000 packs of baby food.

The infant formula is among $4.5 million worth of aid Seoul attempted to donate to North Korean flood victims. But the government here says it never received a response from Pyongyang about the offer. Instead North Korea asked for rice and cement.

Park Hyun-seok, the Secretary-General of the NGO Council for Cooperation with North Korea says Pyongyang desires items which would actually aid those affected by the recent floods.

Park criticizes specific items South Korea proposed to send. He says even South Koreans want to avoid eating ramen instant noodles because the ingredients are unhealthy and Choco-Pie (chocolate marshmallow) snacks are not helpful to promote growth of children.

The World Food Program of the United Nations says about one third of North Korea's children under the age of five are chronically malnourished. The impoverished country has relied on outside aid since the late 1990's when it was hit by famine.

North Korea did accept from South Korea, this month, one million doses of hepatitis B vaccines intended for children.

The South has also authorized the resumption, through the World Health Organization, of $7 million worth of medical aid for the communist country.

South Korea's Unification Minister Yu Woo-ik told a parliamentary committee on Thursday that the government has ruled out sending large-scale food aid to the North.

The Unification Ministry is tasked with inter-Korean relations and handling humanitarian aid to the North. Seoul and Pyongyang have no diplomatic relations.

Next week Minister Yu is scheduled to visit Beijing for talks with Chinese officials concerning North Korea.

China is the North's only remaining key ally. The Unification Minister recently visited Washington for similar discussion with U.S. government officials about North Korea.

The administration of President Lee Myung-bak, which came to power in 2008, reversed the previous government’s more generous approach to Pyongyang. Mr. Lee has stuck to a policy of linking the scope of aid to progress in ending North Korea's nuclear weapons development.

Six-nation talks about Pyongyang's nuclear programs have been stalled for nearly three years. North Korea has called for a quick, unconditional resumption of the negotiations.

Japanese officials say senior officials from Tokyo, Seoul and Washington, meeting on the Indonesian island of Bali on Thursday, agreed that prior to the multination talks resuming, Pyongyang needs to demonstrate concrete action on denuclearization, including halting its nuclear enrichment program.

Steve Herman

A veteran journalist, Steve Herman is VOA's Southeast Asia Bureau Chief and Correspondent, based in Bangkok.

You May Like

800-Pound Man Determined to Slim Down

Man says he was kicked out of hospital for ordering pizza; wants to be an actor More

Australia Prepares to Resettle 12,000 Syrian Refugees

Preference will be given to refugees from persecuted minorities, and the first group is expected to arrive before late December More

S. African Miners Seek Class Action Suit Against Gold Mines

The estimated 100,000 say say they contracted the lung diseases silicosis and tuberculosis in the mines More

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Amnesty Accuses Saudi Coalition of ‘War Crimes’ in Yemeni
Henry Ridgwell
October 12, 2015 4:03 PM
The human rights group Amnesty International has accused the Saudi-led coalition of war crimes in airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Henry Ridgwell reports the group says hundreds of civilians have been killed in strikes on residential areas.

Video Amnesty Accuses Saudi Coalition of ‘War Crimes’ in Yemen

The human rights group Amnesty International has accused the Saudi-led coalition of war crimes in airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Henry Ridgwell reports the group says hundreds of civilians have been killed in strikes on residential areas.

Video No Resolution in Sight to US House Speaker Drama

Uncertainty grips the U.S. Congress, where no consensus replacement has emerged to succeed Republican House Speaker John Boehner after his surprise resignation announcement. Half of Congress is effectively leaderless weeks before America risks defaulting on its national debt and enduring another partial government shutdown.

Video New Art Exhibit Focuses on Hope

Out of struggle and despair often comes hope. That idea is behind a new art exhibit at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland. "The Big Hope Show" features 25 artists, some of whom overcame trauma and loss. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Columbus Day Still Generates Controversy as US Holiday

The second Monday of October is Columbus Day in the United States, honoring explorer Christopher Columbus and his discovery of the Americas. The achievement is a source of pride for many, but for some the holiday is marked by controversy. Adrianna Zhang has more.

Video Anger Simmers as Turks Begin to Bury Blast Victims

The Turkish army carried out new air strikes on Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) targets on Sunday, a day after the banned group announced a unilateral cease fire. The air raids apparently are in retaliation for the Saturday bombing in Turkey's capital Ankara that killed at least 95 people and wounded more than 200 others. But as Zlatica Hoke reports, there are suspicions that Islamic State is involved.

Video Bombings a Sign of Turkey’s Deep Troubles

Turkey has begun a three-day period of mourning following Saturday’s bomb attacks in the capital, Ankara, that killed nearly 100 people. With contentious parliamentary elections three weeks away, the attacks highlight the challenges Turkey is facing as it struggles with ethnic friction, an ongoing migrant crisis, and growing tensions with Russia. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Afghanistan’s Progress Aided by US Academic Center

Recent combat in Afghanistan has shifted world attention back to the central Asian nation’s continuing civil war and economic challenges. But, while there are many vexing problems facing Afghanistan’s government and people, a group of academics in Omaha, Nebraska has kept a strong faith in the nation’s future through programs to improve education. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Omaha, Nebraska.

Video House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdraws

The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video German, US Officials Investigate Volkswagen

German officials have taken steps to restore some of the reputation their car industry has lost after a recent Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal. Authorities have searched Volkswagen headquarters and other locations in an effort to identify the culprits in the creation of software that helps cheat on emission tests. Meanwhile, a group of lawmakers in Washington held a hearing to get to the bottom of the cheating strategy that was first discovered in the United States. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Why Are Gun Laws So Hard for Congress to Tackle?

Since taking office, President Barack Obama has spoken out or issued statements about 15 mass shootings. The most recent shooting, in which 10 people were killed at a community college, sparked outrage over the nation's gun laws. But changing those laws isn't as easy as many think. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.

Video In 'He Named Me Malala,' Guggenheim Finds Normal in Extraordinary

Davis Guggenheim’s documentary "He Named Me Malala" offers a probing look into the life of 18-year-old Malala Yousafsai, the Pakistani teenager who, in 2012, was shot in the head by the Taliban for standing up for her right to education in her hometown in Pakistan's Swat Valley. Guggenheim shows how, since then, Malala has become a symbol not as a victim of brutal violence, but as an advocate for girls’ education throughout the world. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.

Video Paintable Solar Cells May Someday Replace Silicon-Based Panels

Solar panels today are still factory-manufactured, with the use of some highly toxic substances such as cadmium chloride. But a researcher at St. Mary’s College, Maryland, says we are close to being able to create solar panels by painting them on a suitable surface, using nontoxic solutions. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs