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China donates $1m for N.K. flood victims

HONG KONG (Yonhap News) ― China has donated $1 million to aid victims in flood-ravaged North Korea, a U.N. agency said Friday, indicating China continues to support the isolated communist state.

The World Food Program said the Chinese government has contributed the cash to a total amount of emergency food aid worth $18 million sent to flood-hit areas in the southern part of North Korea.

Tropical storms and subsequent floods swept through the North in July, leaving at least 88 people dead and more than 60,000 homeless as well as destroying farmland, according to the WFP.

The aid came after the North filed a request for emergency aid this week, and the U.N. Resident Coordinator’s Office in Pyongyang called for immediate assistance after an on-site investigation.

The WFP said it will ensure that the aid is being made effectively and transparently by monitoring the entire process.

Cash donations North Korea has received will be used to buy corn, sugar, vegetables and other materials from inexpensive, yet quality resources, the aid group said.

China has been North Korea’s closest ally and a key source of foreign currency income.

In 1961, the two countries signed the Sino-North Korean Mutual Aid and Cooperation Friendship Treaty, whereby China pledged to immediately render military and other assistance to its secretive ally.

Meanwhile, South Korea’s unification ministry said a week ago that it is not considering offering aid to the North, though its stance is to help vulnerable North Koreans on purely humanitarian grounds if necessary.

Seoul severed almost all ties with Pyongyang in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship blamed on North Korea and the North’s shelling of a border island that killed 50 people last year.
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