SEOUL, Aug. 8 (Yonhap) -- The government is waiting for North Korea to state its final decision on whether to receive food assistance from Seoul, a unification ministry official said Thursday.
Last month, North Korea told the World Food Programme (WFP) that it will not receive the aid that the South offered to provide through the U.N. agency, citing South Korea's joint military drill with the United States that Pyongyang has long denounced as an invasion rehearsal.
The unification ministry has said that it is trying to confirm whether the refusal is the North's final decision, and that preparations for the rice shipment will remain stalled until after it confirms the final decision from Pyongyang.
"We have not received its official position from the WFP, and the WFP is still in talks with the North," the official said.
South Korea unveiled the plan to provide 50,000 tons of food assistance to North Korea in June to help the impoverished country address its worsening food shortages. Its original plan was to make the first shipment of the domestically harvested rice in July and complete the delivery by September.
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