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Ministry designates 2 border cities as independent operators of aid projects for N. Korea

North Korea 11:32 March 19, 2020

SEOUL, March 19 (Yonhap) -- The unification ministry said Thursday that it has designated two border cities as independent operators of humanitarian aid projects for North Korea as part of efforts to bolster cross-border exchange and cooperation.

The designation of Paju and Goyang, both located near the country's border with North Korea, brought the number of independent North Korea assistance project operators to six, though such projects are unlikely to move forward anytime soon as inter-Korean relations have been stalled for a long time.

The other four municipalities are Seoul, Incheon, Gyeonggi Province and South Chungcheong Province.

Previously, local governments had to work with private entities to provide aid to the North, but the government revised relevant laws last year to allow them to engage in such activities on their own if they get state approval.

It is still unclear whether the designation will lead to cross-border exchange anytime soon amid chilled inter-Korean relations and stalled denuclearization negotiations between Pyongyang and Washington.

North Korea has not responded to Seoul's offers to provide food and medical assistance.


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