South Korea said Monday it will discuss with the World Food Programme what to do with promised food aid to North Korea as the communist nation remains unresponsive to the offer.
In June, South Korea announced the plan to provide 50,000 tons of rice to the North via the WFP to help the impoverished country address its worsening food shortages. Seoul's original plan was to complete the delivery by the end of this month.
But as the North has reportedly been refusing to accept the aid, taking issue with a joint military drill South Korea conducted with the United States last month, Seoul's unification ministry said it will discuss how to handle the issue with the UN body.
The government has been waiting to confirm the North's official stance through the WFP, which has an office in Pyongyang.
"For now, consultations between our government and the WFP are important," ministry spokesperson Lee Sang-min told a regular briefing when asked whether the aid plan could fall through. "We are going to decide how to deal with this issue through continued consultations with the WFP."
The WFP and the Food and Agriculture Organization earlier said the North's crop output last year hit the lowest level since 2008, with an estimated 10 million people, about 40 percent of the population, in urgent need of food. (Yonhap)