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S. Korea to provide 50,000 tons of rice as food aid to N. Korea via WFP Updated: 2019-06-19 17:07:32 KST

We begin with a big announcement from South Korea’s unification ministry
In addition to the 8-million-dollar aid to North Korea, South Korea is offering 50-thousand tons of rice, through a UN food agency.
For more on this, let's connect to our Oh Jung-hee, who's on the line for us
Jung-hee, so additional food aid to North Korea? Tell us more.

That is correct.
Seoul's Unification Minister held a press briefing just an hour ago and announced that the government is providing food aid to North Korea.
Take a listen to the announcement:

"Considering the North's food situation, and after consulting with the World Food Programme, the government has decided to first provide 50,000 tons of rice in aid, hoping it can be delivered to the North Korean people as soon as possible."

The government says that there's been communication between Seoul and the WFP, and between the WFP and Pyeongyang, which led to an agreement on this food aid among the three parties.
The South Korean government is now preparing to fine tune details, such as routes and dates regarding the aid delivery, with the WFP.

Once all preparations are over, Seoul will hand over the rice to the WFP at a South Korean, putting the WFP at the helm of the delivery process until the aid reaches North Korea.

The government hopes the food aid can arrive by September.
Seoul is also considering providing additional food aid to the North later on, after seeing how this one turns out.

Jung-hee, we know that the North has been facing a food crisis recently, so the government's aid comes as no surprise, as it is an act of solidarity and on humanitarian grounds. Nevertheless, can you briefly tell us how the aid came about what Seoul expects from the aid delivery?

Well, we should go back to early May when the World Food Programme and the Food and Agriculture Organization -- released a report on North Korea.
It said that over 10 million people in the North -- or about 40-percent of the population -- are suffering from a food shortage and added that almost 1.4 million tons of food aid are necessary to counter the crisis
.
Since then, the South Korean government has been considering sending food aid to the North, in addition to 8-million-dollars in contribution to the WFP and UNICEF.
Today, the government explained that the North faces its worst food crisis over the past ten years.
Seoul said that the food aid will help in not only reigniting the two Koreas' reconciliation process, but also contributing to creating a positive atmosphere for negotiations between Pyeongyang and Washington.
This is the 9th time South Korea is providing food aid to the North via WFP since 1996.
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