Dec. 5 (UPI) -- South Korea will provide $5 million in support for maternal and child health projects in North Korea through the World Health Organization.
South Korean aid to the North via the WHO is resuming after a five-year hiatus, local paper Hankook Ilbo reported Friday. The decision also marks the third time the administration of President Moon Jae-in has agreed to donate some form of humanitarian aid to the North.
In May, Seoul decided to send $8 million in humanitarian aid to North Korea after Pyongyang said the country is experiencing extreme drought. The aid was not delivered directly but was channeled to various United Nations agencies, including the World Food Program and UNICEF, in June.
South Korea's offer of 50,000 tons of rice through the WFP was turned down by North Korea, however.
According to South Korea's unification ministry, the government has been in discussions with the WHO to resume the project which has "been suspended since 2014."
Seoul said it decided to send funds in hopes the project could "contribute to lowering infant and maternal mortality rates."
South Korea also said the funds will be used toward training of personnel in North Korean hospitals with departments in gynecology and pediatrics and toward expenses incurred for patient monitoring and surgical instruments.
Seoul is providing aid at a time when North Korea has promoted self-reliance in economic development.
Pyongyang has never publicly acknowledged past forms of humanitarian assistance; it is unclear how aware the North Korean population is of the South's efforts to bring aid relief.
KCNA reported Thursday the state has completed construction at Jungpyong Greenhouse Farming Village in North Hamgyong Province, and new residents are moving in.
A total of a hundred households have moved into a new district that already operates schools, kindergartens, day care centers and other "conveniences," North Korea state media claimed.