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North Korea mistakenly credited with $300,000 in foreign aid to post-coup Myanmar

Activists rally to oppose the military junta's government takeover during a demonstration in Mandalay, Myanmar, on February 28. The junta coup occurred on February 1. File Photo by Xiao Long/UPI
Activists rally to oppose the military junta's government takeover during a demonstration in Mandalay, Myanmar, on February 28. The junta coup occurred on February 1. File Photo by Xiao Long/UPI | License Photo

SEOUL, June 17 (UPI) -- North Korea, usually a recipient of international humanitarian assistance, was mistakenly credited with donating $300,000 to a United Nations-led fund to provide aid to Myanmar on Thursday before the information was corrected by the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs financial tracking service.

Pierre Peron, OCHA head of communications for Asia-Pacific, confirmed to UPI that the information posted on the financial tracking service website was in error.

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"I can confirm that DPRK has not provided funding to the Myanmar Humanitarian Fund," Peron wrote in an email. The Democratic People's Republic of Korea is the official name of North Korea.

Instead, the $300,000 donation came from South Korea, which made an additional contribution of $600,000.

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The fund calls for $276.5 million for Myanmar in areas including health, education and food security, as the country struggles with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic amid fallout from a military coup in February.

So far, over $51.2 million has been raised for the fund, with the United States providing $23.8 million as the leading donor.

North Korea has not made any donations to U.N.-led humanitarian funds since 2005, when Pyongyang gave $150,000 to Asian countries impacted by a devastating tsunami, including Indonesia, India, Malaysia and Thailand.

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Pyongyang has received $14.8 million in humanitarian aid so far in 2021, via sources including the World Food Program and United Nations Children's Fund, according to OCHA. It received more than $40 million last year and almost $46 million the year before.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un addressed the country's ongoing food shortage at a plenary meeting of the ruling Workers' Party on Wednesday, saying the situation is "now getting tense" due to crops being damaged by a series of typhoons last year.

Myanmar's military seized power in a coup on Feb. 1, arresting the country's civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi and other high-ranking government officials.

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An ongoing public protest movement against the coup has been met with a brutal crackdown by the junta, with 865 civilians killed and over 6,000 arrested, according to the latest daily figures from the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners.

An earlier version of this story contained the original information from OCHA on the source of the Korean donation to Myanmar. It has been updated to correct the error.

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