South Korea permits border crossing

July 31, 2009 at 1:55 PM
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SEOUL, July 31 (UPI) -- South Korea has given the go-ahead for a group of aid workers to cross the border into the North, an official announced Friday.

Seven staff members and agricultural experts will begin an eight-day trip to North Korea Saturday to visit potato seedling farms, South Korea's Yonhap News Agency reports.

Unification Ministry spokesman Chun Hae-sung told a briefing that the decision to allow the visit was based on the government's position that humanitarian assistance to North Korea should be resumed.

Seoul placed a ban on non-governmental border crossings following Pyongyang's launch of a long-range missile in April.

Only business-related trips involving a joint industrial complex in the border down of Kaesong and a tourism resort were exempt from the ban.

Earlier this week a Seoul-based aid group, the Korean Sharing Movement, was forced to cancel its planned visit to the North after failing to receive an official invitation from Pyongyang.

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