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S. Korea OKs aid group's plan to send protective clothing to N. Korea

All Headlines 11:14 April 23, 2020

SEOUL, April 23 (Yonhap) -- South Korea has approved an aid organization's plan to send protective clothing to North Korea to help it fight the new coronavirus, a unification ministry official said Thursday.

The approval was granted Tuesday, allowing the organization to send 20,000 items of protective clothing worth around 200 million won (US$162,000), the official told reporters, without providing other details, such as the group's identity.

The move came about three weeks after the ministry gave the green light to an unidentified civilian aid group's plan to send 100 million won worth of hand sanitizers to the North, the first such state approval this year.

North Korea claims to have no coronavirus infections, but outside observers said the secretive state might be covering up an outbreak and be in dire need of outside help to stem the spread of COVID-19.

It is not clear, however, whether the North will receive aid from such civilian organizations amid chilly inter-Korean relations. The official declined to comment on if and when the approved assistance has been sent to the North.

Cross-border exchanges have stalled since a no-deal summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and U.S. President Donald Trump about a year ago. Pyongyang has not responded to Seoul's repeated offers for cooperation and talks.

kokobj@yna.co.kr
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