South Korea to send 50,000 tons of rice to North Korea

Seoul: South Korea said Wednesday it plans to send 50,000 tons of rice to North Korea through the World Food Programme, in its second aid package announced over the past month as it seeks to help with North Korean food shortages and improve bilateral relations.

South Korean Unification Minister Kim Yeon-chul, Seoul's point man for North Korea, said his government will work with the U.N. agency to ensure that the food reaches North Korean people without delay.

South Korea last week sent USD 8 million to the World Food Program and the United Nations Children's Fund for programs providing medical and nutritional aid for North Korean children and pregnant women.

UN agencies last month said that about 10 million people were facing "severe food shortages" after one of North Korea's worst harvests in a decade. Kim said South Korea will decide whether to provide more food aid after reviewing the outcome of the current assistance. Kim said South Korea and WFP are reviewing how to send the rice to North Korea, but that a delivery by sea would be more effective than air transport.

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