South Korea explained its possible move to provide humanitarian assistance to North Korea "in advance"
to the United States and Japan, the foreign ministry said Thursday, emphasizing that the three countries remain in close consultation on issues related to the North.
"We have been in close consultation with countries such as the US and Japan on our government's basic stance on humanitarian aid and other overall policies related to the North," Cho June-hyuck, foreign ministry spokesman, told a regular press briefing. "We explained (to them) in advance on this case as well."
Foreign ministry spokesman Cho June-hyuck (Yonhap)
The unification ministry handling inter-Korean affairs said earlier in the day that the government is considering providing $8 million in aid to North Korea via international organizations.
The government plans to hold a meeting on inter-Korean cooperation on Sept. 21 to finalize whether to offer humanitarian assistance to those who are vulnerable in North Korea, it added.
Asked about the apparent displeasure voiced by Japan over the latest move, Cho said that humanitarian aid is not prohibited by existing resolutions adopted against the North and that the Seoul government has been in pursuit of providing such help regardless of the political situation.
Earlier, Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters in Tokyo that it is necessary to avoid action that could weaken pressure being applied to North Korea, adding that the UN Security Council recently adopted new sanctions to punish the North for its sixth nuclear test on Sept. 3.
The spokesman emphasized that the Seoul government's recognition of the current grave situation remains unchanged and that it still believes that the North's continued provocations should be met by "sanctions" and "pressure." (Yonhap)