09/15/2017, 13.21
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Seoul to send humanitarian aid to the North despite provocations

Aid worth US$ 8 million includes cereals and vaccine for children and pregnant women. Vulnerable people are most affected by sanctions. About 70 per cent of North Korea’s population is malnourished.

Seoul (AsiaNews) – South Korea will continue humanitarian assistance to the North regardless of political considerations, said Lee Eugene, Unification Ministry's spokeswoman, a few hours before Pyongyang launched a new missile launch.

Seoul said it is considering offering US million in aid to the North through U.N. agencies.

"The government has the basic stance that humanitarian assistance to infants and pregnant women in North Korea should be maintained regardless of political situations," Lee told a press briefing.

The government plans to decide whether to approve it next Thursday. If approved, it would mark the resumption of Seoul's aid to North Korea via UN since December 2015.

Ms Lee noted that there is no contradiction between the sanctions voted by the UN last week and humanitarian aid.

She explained that as those who are vulnerable tend to be dealt the most blows during the economic hardship, assistance to such people is needed.

"Seoul plans to support cereal or vaccines-provision projects for North Koreans. The government does not think that the move compromises the spirit of the United Nations," Lee said.

According to a UN study released a few months ago, 70 per cent of the North Korean population is malnourished.

Most children under the age of 24 months, and 50 per cent of pregnant or breast-feeding women suffer from a poor diet that leads to nutritional deficiencies and a high rate of acute and chronic malnutrition.

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