S Korea allows civilian aid to DPRK

19:04, September 15, 2010      

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South Korea has given a nod to civilian aid to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), the government here said Wednesday, indicating what might be a thaw in the frosty inter-Korean relations.

The government approved Tuesday eight shipments of civilian aid worth 2.24 billion won (1.8 million U.S. dollars) in total to the flood-hit DPRK, the unification ministry in Seoul said. The aid consists of flour, rice, instant noodles and blankets.

The move comes as the two Koreas are scheduled to hold working- level talks later this week over reunions of family members separated by the 1950-53 Korean War. Pyongyang proposed the reunion Saturday, following the offer of rice aid by Red Cross in Seoul.

Seoul has shied away from sending government-level aid to Pyongyang since May, after the Seoul-led team of investigators blamed Pyongyang for the March 26 sinking of a South Korean warship. The DPRK denies the charge.

While the government sticks to its stance that it will only allow aid for children and the vulnerable, but a series of recent approvals might help diffuse tension over the sinking, observers said.

Source: Xinhua


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