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US to Provide Emergency Aid to Help North Korea Deal With Train Explosion - 2004-04-26

Secretary of State Colin Powell says the United States will provide emergency aid to North Korea through the United Nations to help it deal with last week's devastating train accident and explosion.

Mr. Powell said the United States is ready to provide North Korea with financial aid and possibly other forms of assistance following its appeal for outside help through the United Nations. In a talk with reporters here, the secretary of state made clear that political differences with Pyongyang are being put aside in responding to that country's rail disaster.

"This is a humanitarian tragedy. Children have been injured. Homes lost. And America has always been a giving nation that will respond in time of need. And so we are making the United Nations aware of our willingness to participate in whatever relief efforts that might be appropriate," he said.

Despite the icy political relationship with North Korea, the United States has long been the single-biggest provider of food aid to that country, committing 100,000 tons of food last year for distribution through the U.N.'s World Food Program.