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Summary of inter-Korean news this week

All News 16:00 August 07, 2020

SEOUL, Aug. 7 (Yonhap) -- The following is a summary of inter-Korean news this week.

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Unification ministry denies probe into civic groups targets N.K. defectors

SEOUL, Aug. 3 (Yonhap) -- The unification ministry denied speculation Monday that an upcoming probe into civic groups is intended to target North Korean defector organizations after revoking the licenses of two such entities over their sending of anti-Pyongyang leaflets.

The ministry earlier said that it plans to begin inspecting 25 civic groups registered with the ministry, including 13 organizations run by North Korean defectors, in mid-August to see if they are operating according to their declared business purposes.

"The standard by which we chose the 25 groups is based on their annual performance reports," Yoh Sang-key, the ministry's spokesperson, told a regular press briefing in response to a question as to whether the probe was intended to target defector groups.

"We chose the groups whose performances had been poor or which had not submitted required materials," he said.

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N. Korea released dam water without notifying South Korea: ministry official

SEOUL, Aug. 4 (Yonhap) -- North Korea did not notify South Korea before discharging water from a border dam earlier this week in violation of an inter-Korean agreement, a unification ministry official said Tuesday.

On Monday, the North partially opened the floodgates of Hwanggang Dam on the western inter-Korean border and sent water into the Imjin River, a move that put authorities here on alert against the potential rise in water levels in the South.

"North Korea has opened the gates of the dam three times from July to Aug. 3. The North has not notified us in advance as it opened the gates of the dam," the ministry official said.

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S. Korea calls on N.K to cooperate in giving notification of release of dam water

SEOUL, Aug. 5 (Yonhap) -- The unification ministry on Wednesday urged North Korea to cooperate in sharing information on natural disasters, days after the communist country discharged water from a border dam without prior notice in violation of an inter-Korean agreement.

On Monday, the North partially opened the floodgates of Hwanggang Dam on the western inter-Korean border and sent water into the Imjin River, a move that put authorities here on alert against a potential rise in water levels in the South.

"The water level at Pilseung Bridge rose twice last night and exceeded 5 meters," Yoh Sang-key, the ministry's spokesperson, said in a regular press briefing.

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S. Korea decides to provide US$10 mln for WFP aid project for N. Korea

SEOUL, Aug. 6 (Yonhap) -- South Korea decided Thursday to provide US$10 million for a World Food Programme project to supply food and nutrition to young children and women in North Korea, the unification ministry said Thursday.

The decision, approved by a civilian-government committee on inter-Korean exchanges, marked the first time that the ministry has approved a North Korea aid plan since Unification Minister Lee In-young took office last month.

The fund will be used to provide nearly 9,000 tons of fortified food to children under the age of 7 and pregnant women in 60 counties in the North, and to provide 3,600 tons of food aid, including corn, beans and oil, the ministry said.

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Military searching for landmines possibly swept from N. Korea by heavy rains

SEOUL, Aug. 7 (Yonhap) -- The military is trying to detect and remove landmines in border regions that could have been washed away across the border from North Korea due to heavy rains, the defense ministry said Friday.

Front-line military units launched the work earlier in the day amid concerns the mines could have made their way south due to swollen water levels following heavy precipitation since last week, according to the ministry.

Millions of landmines are believed to have been laid on the Korean Peninsula during the 1950-53 Korean War, particularly in the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) that bisects the two Koreas.
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