Seoul considers relief for North Korea

July 8, 2013 at 12:03 PM
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SEOUL, July 8 (UPI) -- South Korean aid agencies are reviewing the prospects of sending humanitarian assistance to the government in Pyongyang, an aid worker said.

Security issues on the Korean Peninsula have overshadowed ongoing human rights concerns in the isolated country. Members of the international community reviewed their offers of food assistance to North Korea following its decision in February to conduct an underground nuclear test.

A source from a local aid group in South Korea told the Yonhap news agency on condition of anonymity there were preparations under way to resume some relief operations for North Korea.

"Since the North's offer to hold inter-Korean government talks last month, the country has shown its intention to accept humanitarian aid (from the South) again and to resume private-level exchange and cooperation," the official said Monday.

North Korean outreach efforts have been shrugged off as insincere. The U.S. government said it would discuss regional concerns at the multilateral level.

North Korea observed Monday as the 19th anniversary of the death of its founder, Kim Il Sung. His grandson and current leader Kim Jong Un visited a monument commemorating the founder with senior military officials in Pyongyang.

In July 2012, Pyongyang said it uncovered a plot by U.S. and South Korean agents to destroy monuments honoring the North Korean founder near the border with China.

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