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S. Korea seeking to provide food aid to N. Korea in preemptive way: minister

All Headlines 11:10 June 12, 2019

SEOUL, June 12 (Yonhap) -- South Korea is pushing to provide food aid to North Korea in a preemptive manner to help its neighboring country cope with food shortages, Seoul's pointman on inter-Korean affairs said Wednesday.

Unification Minister Kim Yeon-chul told lawmakers that the government will maintain its stance to extend humanitarian assistance regardless of political situations.

"By taking into account (North Korea's) difficult food situations, we are seeking to provide preemptive assistances at the government level," Kim said during a consultative meeting between the ruling party and the government.

The government is reviewing plans to provide North Korea with humanitarian food assistance in response to reports that the communist state faces worsening food shortages, mainly attributable to global sanctions and unfavorable weather conditions.

Separately, Seoul has donated US$8 million to two U.N. agencies -- the WFP and UNICEF -- to support their own North Korea assistance programs to deliver nutritional and medical products.

Touching on the deadly boat sinking in Hungary, a vice foreign minister vowed efforts to keep close cooperation with Hungarian authorities in finding those who are missing.

The wreck of a tour boat salvaged from the Danube River was safely placed on a barge nearly two weeks after its deadly sinking Tuesday, with four more bodies recovered.

The sightseeing boat, carrying 33 Korean tourists and two Hungarian crew members, capsized and sank after colliding with a large cruise ship in late May. So far, 22 South Koreans have been confirmed dead and four still remain missing. Seven were rescued right after the accident.

Unification Minister Kim Yeon-chul (R) speaks at a consultative meeting between the ruling party and the government held at the National Assembly in Seoul on June 12, 2019. (Yonhap)

sooyeon@yna.co.kr
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