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S. Korean group to send first flour aid to N. Korea after Kim's death

All Headlines 12:04 January 20, 2012

SEOUL, Jan. 20 (Yonhap) -- Representatives of a South Korean charity group plan to visit North Korea next week to deliver 180 tons of flour aid to North Korea to help ease its chronic food shortages, officials said Friday.

The planned shipment by the Seoul-based Korea Peace Foundation marks the first flour assistance to the communist country following the death last month of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il.

South Korea approved the two-day trip by eight to nine officials of the foundation that is set to begin on Jan. 27, according to Unification Ministry spokesman Kim Hyung-suk.

All trips to North Korea are subject to prior government approval as the Koreas remain in a technical state of war following a cease-fire at the end of the 1950-53 Korean War.

The private delegation is scheduled to visit an inter-Korean industrial complex in the North's border city of Kaesong on Jan. 27, according to Bang Hyun-sup, an official of the Korea Peace Foundation.

The shipment is set to be delivered to a primary school and a day care center in North Hwanghae Province near the Kaesong industrial complex, Bang said.

Only one member of the delegation plans to stay in the complex until Jan. 28 to monitor whether the aid reaches vulnerable people in North Korea, said Bang. The monitoring will be joined by a South Korean official of an association of South Korean companies in Kaesong that donated the shipment, Bang said.

The complex, a key outcome of the inter-Korean summit in 2000, marries South Korean capital and technology with cheap labor from the North. It is now home to more than 120 South Korea's small and medium-sized companies.

Last year, South Korean civic groups donated nearly 3,000 tons of flour to North Korea.


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