SEOUL, Oct. 22 (Yonhap) -- The unification ministry said Tuesday that it will allow municipalities to independently pursue assistance projects for North Korea.
Municipal governments have usually teamed up with nongovernmental agencies in providing assistance to the North as they are not allowed under current regulations to seek aid provision on their own.
The ministry handling inter-Korean affairs said that it has revised the regulations in a way that allows municipal governments to push for assistance projects for the North.
"We expect the revision will bolster and support municipalities' involvement in cross-border exchange and eventually serve as chance to improve the livelihoods of North Korean citizens," a ministry official told reporters.
North Korea is reportedly facing aggravating food shortages caused by unfavorable weather conditions and lack of fertilizer and other necessary farming equipment caused by global sanctions imposed on Pyongyang.
The North, however, earlier rejected South Korea's proposal to provide 50,000 tons of rice through the World Food Programme to help its food shortages, citing a joint military drill by Seoul and Washington.
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