03/12/2007, 00.00
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Seoul to give North hundreds of thousands of dollars despite UN concerns

The United Nations ended cash payments to the Stalinist regime worried the money would be diverted to military spending. South korea ignores such concerns. North appears willing to co-host winter olympics.

Seoul (AsiaNews/CI) – The South Korean government announced on Saturday its intention to donate US$ 400,000 cash to North Korea to purchase teleconferencing technology despite concerns by the United Nations and Western powers as to how the money might be spent. The UN in fact stopped giving the Stalinist regime cash funds worried that they would be used for the military and not the population.

The South Korean government has strictly banned humanitarian groups from giving cash to the North because it could not be traced. But on this one occasion, it decided “to assist the North to smoothly resolve the separated family issue” via teleconferencing.

Former South Korean Prime Minister Lee Hae-chan also confirmed North Korea’s interest in co-hosting the 2014 Winter Olympic Games should South Korea’s bid wins. He said that his North Korean interlocutors were positive about the idea.

However, Bang Jae-heung, secretary-general of the 2014 Pyeongchang Olympic Winter Games Bid Committee, said the former prime minister held no prior consultation with the committee and suspected his remarks were “politically motivated.”

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