News / Asia

South Korean Groups Send Truckloads of Flour Into North

South Korean trucks carrying 300 tons of flour drive past a military checkpoint before crossing the inter-Korean border in Paju, north of Seoul, on July 26, 2011
South Korean trucks carrying 300 tons of flour drive past a military checkpoint before crossing the inter-Korean border in Paju, north of Seoul, on July 26, 2011

For the first time in more than a year, South Korean civic groups Tuesday sent hundreds of tons of flour across the border to North Korea.  But the Seoul government still refuses to dispatch any official humanitarian assistance because of concerns about distribution and tense political relations with Pyongyang.  This comes as international aid groups warn that many North Koreans face a severe food shortage.  

In Imjingak, seven kilometers south of the inter-Korean border, a convoy of flat-bed trucks pulled out of the Imjingak Peace Park carrying 300 tons of flour, bound for North Korea.

The aid came from local civic groups, which had been banned from sending food across the border, ever since Seoul blamed the North for sinking its navy ship, the Cheonan in March, 2010.  

The head of the Korea Sharing Movement, Rev. In Myung-jin says the flour will help feed 22,000 North Korean children.  But he says that charities, alone, cannot help all those in need.

“Our support through the NGO is very little, not enough to support [stop] the starvation in North Korea.  So we try to urge our government to support North Korea,” he said.

But Seoul’s Ministry of Unification, the government body that handles relations with North Korea, says it is not ready to provide any official humanitarian assistance.

That is despite calls from the United Nations World Food Program and other international organizations that warn the North is once again facing severe food shortage.

Earlier this month, the European Union announced that it will soon dispatch $14 million worth of aid to help those at greatest risk of going hungry - women and children.  EU officials say they have received unprecedented access to ensure the food is not diverted to feed the north’s military.

However the EU’s decision has not swayed Seoul, says Cho Joong Hoon, director of the Humanitarian Assistance Division at the Unification Ministry.

He says that the EU decided to send emergency aid to North Korea based upon what they witnessed after visiting North Korea.  Seoul does approve of the EU's decision, but the South Korean government is not sending aid because of current North-South issues.

Those issues include the sinking of the Cheonan, which Pyongyang denies, and North Korea’s attack on Yeonpyeong Island this past November.  Seoul wants an apology for both incidents.

But there are recent signs of improvement in inter-Korean relations.  Last week, envoys from both Koreas met on the sidelines of a regional security forum in Bali, Indonesia, where both pledged to return to multinational talks about North Korea’s nuclear weapons program.  Those negotiations have been in deadlock for more than two years.  


You May Like

India PM Modi's party distances itself from religious conversions

BJP under fire for being slow to rein in hardline affiliate groups allegedly trying to promote a Hindu-dominant agenda by luring Muslims and Christians to convert to Hinduism More

Anti-Whaling Group Found in Contempt of Court

Radical environmentalists who threw acid and smoke bombs at Japanese whalers in the waters off Antarctica continue their campaign to disrupt Japan's annual whale hunt More

UN's Ban Urges End to Discrimination Against Ebola Workers

Ban was speaking in Guinea on the second day of a whistle-stop tour aimed at thanking healthcare workers of the countries at the heart of the epidemic More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
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.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid