South Korea to resume aid to North

Shipments of flood aid will be first since North's 2006 nuclear test.

    Seoul will be sending rice, cement, trucks, blankets and iron bars to the North [EPA]
    The flood aid was suspended together with thousands of tonnes of rice and fertiliser after North Korea conducted a series of weapons tests last year.
     
    South Korea has promised to send 10,500 tonnes of rice, 70,415 tonnes of cement, 50 lorries, 60,000 blankets and 1,800 tonnes of iron bars.
     
    Next week, the South is expected to resume deliveries of fertiliser aid to North Korea, the first since relations between the two countries were strained by Pyongyang's nuclear test last October.
     
    Stalled talks
     
    South Korea agreed to resume fertiliser shipments following the landmark six-nation agreement in February under which the North agreed to begin dismantling its nuclear programmes.
     
    But on Thursday a new round of talks in Beijing broke down with North Korea insisting on a date for the release of its $25m in frozen funds in a Macau bank before it returns to the table for negotiations.
     
    The latest development has derailed plans to fine-tune a schedule for the full dismantling of North Korea's nuclear programme.
     
    Following the February agreement, the two Koreas resumed high-level bilateral talks earlier this month and the South agreed in principle to restart its regular annual rice aid.
     
    The two nations also pledged to restart a series of other programmes to improve relations, such as reunions of families divided since the 1950-53 Korean war.
     
    A new round of face-to-face family reunions will begin at Mount Kumgang on May 9-14, while reunions via video link will be held at the resort on March 27-29.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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