WASHINGTON, Sept. 23 (UPI) -- The U.S. State Department is allocating $2.65 million to improving human rights in North Korea.
The funds will go to human rights organizations and research institutions to support work on North Korea-related issues, Voice of America reported Thursday.
The State Department's Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor called for proposals from relevant organizations to be submitted by Oct. 31, according to the report.
Of that budgeted amount, the State Department is to allocate $1.6 million, or 60 percent, to projects focused on increasing the flow of information from the outside world, $500,000 to identifying North Korea human rights abuses as well as those who are responsible, and $550,000 toward programs that support political reform in the country.
The State Department plans to support about two projects in each category, and each project must be able to have an immediate impact as well as show potential for continued operations even after financial support is terminated.
North Korea does not allow for the open sharing of outside information among its citizens, and has instead strengthened its condemnation of the United States as well as South Korea in recent months.
On Thursday, a spokesman for the Korean People's Army General Staff said Pyongyang would reduce the residence of South Korea's president, the Blue House, to ashes with its nuclear weapons, a day after Seoul confirmed a plan to target Kim Jong Un in the case of a nuclear attack.
North Korea also said if the United States deploys a B-1B supersonic bomber to North Korean airspace it would completely annihilate the U.S. territory of Guam.
Seoul's defense ministry issued a warning to Pyongyang on Friday to immediately end all verbal attacks targeting South Korea's military.