SKorea OKs Resumption of Some Medical Aid for NKorea

    South Korea has authorized the continuation of a World Health Organization program in North Korea in what observers said could be a sign of easing tensions between the two neighbor countries.

    South Korea donated $13 million to WHO in 2009 to help the organization distribute medical aid in North Korea. But it asked the organization to stop using its money for the program following the March 2010 attack on a South Korean warship, which Seoul claimed was led by North Korea.

    With South Korea’s agreement to continue the program, WHO is expected to be able to distribute up to $6.7 million worth of medical aid in North Korea.

    A senior official of the South Korean Unification Ministry explained the decision to resume the program “was based upon our belief that purely humanitarian support for the young and vulnerable in North Korea should continue,” The New York Times reports.

    Some observers have noted the decision could be a sign of easing tensions between South Korea and North Korea, but the former’s unification ministry said Seoul has no plans of resuming direct aid to its neighbor, CNN notes.

    Read more development aid news online, and subscribe to The Development Newswire to receive top international development headlines from the world’s leading donors, news sources and opinion leaders — emailed to you FREE every business day.

    About the author

    • Ivy Mungcal

      As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.