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S. Korean aid groups to seek COVID-19 assistance for N. Korea

All News 11:40 May 19, 2022

SEOUL, May 19 (Yonhap) -- A group of South Korean civic groups campaigning for North Korea aid announced plans Thursday to provide Pyongyang with medical assistance worth 12 billion won (US$10 million) in a bid to help it cope with the COVID-19 outbreak.

The move comes amid no response from the reclusive North to the South Korean government's push for consultations on cooperation in its fight against the virus crisis.

During a joint press conference in Seoul, three organizations -- the Korea NGO Council for Cooperation with North Korea (KNCCK), Korea Council for Reconciliation and Cooperation, and Civil Peace Forum -- made public the project to send such items as COVID-19 test kits, masks, protective suits, antibiotics and antipyretic drugs.

They welcomed President Yoon Suk-yeol's stated commitment earlier this week to send coronavirus aid to the North, including vaccines and other medical supplies, and stressed the need to carry out the offer "in a sincere way that is acceptable to North Korea."

They also urged the North to take the South Korean government's proposal positively and to come forward for dialogue.

The groups said they will also try to reach out to North Korea early next week through "all routes" possible for coronavirus aid.

North Korean soldiers from the military field of the Korean People's Army gather at the Ministry of National Defense in Pyongyang on May 16, 2022, to pledge to carry out their mission to supply medicine to pharmacies amid the North's anti-epidemic campaign, in this photo released May 17 by the North's official Korean Central News Agency. The Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea has ordered the military medical field to supply medicine to pharmacies under the 24-hour service system, as the North has seen a surge in suspected coronavirus cases. (For Use Only in the Republic of Korea. No Redistribution) (Yonhap)

julesyi@yna.co.kr
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