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S. Korea approves additional humanitarian aid to N. Korea

All Headlines 11:58 May 09, 2011

SEOUL, May 9 (Yonhap) -- South Korea approved additional humanitarian and medical aid to North Korea despite lingering political tensions on the divided Korean Peninsula, an official said Monday.

Five civic groups have been allowed to deliver 830 million won (US$769,000) worth of bread, soy milk, basic medical supplies and anti-malaria aid to the North, bringing the total amount of aid to the North this year to 2.28 billion won, Unification Ministry spokesman Chun Hae-sung said at a briefing.

The private aid comes amid tensions on the peninsula over North Korea's two deadly attacks on the South last year that killed 50 South Koreans.

Chun also said the government will review and approve other humanitarian aid to infants and other vulnerable people in the North by taking into account the necessity and urgency of the aid and the transparency of its distribution.

North Korea has relied heavily on international handouts since a massive famine hit in the mid-1990s. International assistance has dropped significantly in the wake of a series of nuclear and missile tests that Pyongyang has conducted in defiance of warnings.

South Korea has provided little food assistance to North Korea since a conservative government took power in Seoul in 2008 and tied cross-border exchanges to denuclearization efforts by Pyongyang.

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