The Unification Ministry on Tuesday said it was reconsidering the timing of a $10 million aid package to North Korea via the World Food Program, amid heightened tensions between the two Koreas.
The ministry said that earlier this month the unification minister and WFP Executive Director David Beasley held a videoconference and they were planning to go ahead with an aid project for assisting nutrition needs for women and babies. But it decided to delay the plan after Kim Yo-jong, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s younger sister, made a statement the following day warning of severed ties with South Korea.
“We are reconsidering the timing to push ahead with the project, considering the various matters regarding inter-Korean relations,” a ministry official said on the condition of anonymity.
The previous day, Unification Vice Minister Suh Ho told lawmakers that the ministry was planning to donate $10 million to North Korea via WFP’s project.
The ministry said it has donated three times in the past, including $7 million in 2014, $2.1 million in 2015 and $4.5 million in 2019, putting the total at $13.6 million.
Earlier this month, Kim Yo-jong lashed out and warned of a series of measures against Seoul for its failure to stop defectors from sending anti-Pyongyang leaflets across the border. It included scrapping an inter-Korean military agreement, permanently suspending the joint-liaison office and Kaesong industrial park. Following the statement, the North publicly demolished the inter-Korean liaison office, putting inter-Korean relations at its lowest point in recent years.
By Ahn Sung-mi (email@example.com