Finance Minister Briefs Moody's on Seoul's N. Korea Measures

Cheryl Sanders
September 21, 2017

The unification ministry will provide USD$4.5 million to the World Food Program (WFP) for projects providing nutrition-enhancing foods for children in daycare facilities and pediatric wards, as well as for pregnant women.

The inter-Korean exchange and cooperation committee was chaired by Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon to approve the provision of 8 million dollars to the projects of the World Food Program (WFP) and the UN International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) for infants and pregnant women in the DPRK.

North Korea's repeated arms tests have resulted in two new United Nations sanctions packages in 2017 and the U.S. administration's belligerent tone has enormously elevated tension on the Korean peninsula over the previous year.

Finance Minister Kim Dong-yeon is scheduled to meet with foreign investors in NY on Wednesday (local time) and intends to reassure the global financial community that the South Korean economy remains solid despite heightened tensions over North Korea's nuclear and missile programs.

The move is aimed at separating humanitarian assistance from the political issues dividing the two states.

Karin Hulshof, UNICEF Regional Director for East Asia and the Pacific, issued a statement on Wednesday calling for more humanitarian aid to the DPRK.

"Today, we estimate that around 200,000 children are affected by acute malnutrition, heightening their risk of death and increasing rates of stunting", Hulshof said. The minister said one of his main objectives is to raise the credibility and trustworthiness of the South Korean economy by outlining the Moon administration's new fiscal policy direction.

Moon had said aid was something to be considered separately from political issues, quoted by his office.

The ministry said that the worldwide community is sternly responding to North Korea's provocations, but also emphasizing the need to extend humanitarian assistance to North Koreans.

They underlined the severity of the last missile test carried out by North Korea on September 15 during which it fired a medium-range missile that travelled about 3,700 km and flew over northern Japan. The last time the South had sent aid to the North was in December 2015 through the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) under ex-president Park Geun-hye. Tensions are rising on the Korean Peninsula over Pyongyang's provocations, including its largest-ever nuclear test earlier this month and mid-range ballistic missile launches.

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