Seoul Sends Aid to NKorea via UNICEF

The young and the vulnerable seemed to have caught the heart of South Korea as the country announced Monday (Dec. 5) it would resume sending $5.7 million worth of aid to the North.

South Korea’s Unification Ministry said it will send medicines, vaccines and nutritional supplements to North Korean children suffering from malnourishment through UNICEF, the latest donation from Seoul to the North via the agency since tensions transpired between the two in 2010. It also said it will help build a medical clinic and expand bus stations inside a joint industrial complex South Korea manages in Kaesong, a town near the border.

The move seemed to back South Korean Unification Minister Yu Woo-ik’s recent statement mentioned in The New York Times that it would consider sending aid to the North through the United Nations, a sign of easing tensions between the two countries, observers speculate.

Just last month, South Korea gave the World Health Organization the go signal to continue using the country’s donations — which it froze in light of the attack on the South Korean warship in March 2010 — in the agency’s program of distributing medical aid to the North. The decision, according to a senior official of the Unification Ministry, was based on South Korea’s belief that purely humanitarian support for the young and vulnerable in North Korea should continue.

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About the author

  • Jenny Lei Ravelo

    Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex Senior Reporter based in Manila. She covers global health, with a particular focus on the World Health Organization, and other development and humanitarian aid trends in Asia Pacific. Prior to Devex, she wrote for ABS-CBN, one of the largest broadcasting networks in the Philippines, and was a copy editor for various international scientific journals. She received her journalism degree from the University of Santo Tomas.