Distribution of private aid monitored in N.Korea

Posted on : 2011-12-01 10:30 KST Modified on : 2019-10-19 20:29 KST
The visit by a South Korean government official was the first outside of Kaesong and Mt. Kumgang since the Yeonpyeong shelling

By Kim Kyu-won, Staff Writer 
 
“North Koreans know that the wheat flour aid they received came from South Korea.”
These were the words of Cho Joong-hoon, director of the Unification Ministry’s humanitarian assistance division, during a meeting with reporters Wednesday at the Central Governmental Complex in Seoul upon his return from a recent visit to North Korea to monitor the distribution of aid.
“The name of the South Korean private aid group, the manufacturing company, the date, and the address were all printed on the packages of flour,” Cho said.
Arriving in North Korea on Sunday with Kim Min-ha, co-chairman of the private group Ambassadors for Peace, and three others, Cho visited three sites to observe the distribution of the 300 tons of flour provided in aid. The site were the Namchol Kindergarten, February 16 Refinery Kindergarten, and Tongmun Nursery in Chongju, North Pyongan.
It was the first visit to any part of North Korea besides Kaseong and Mt. Kumkang by a government official in the one year since the Yeonpyeong Island artillery attack on Nov. 23, 2010.
Cho said that the distribution, storage, preparation, and supply of the flour were monitored and that everything was confirmed to be proceeding as planned.
On the situation on the ground, Cho said, “Judging simply from the nursery and two kindergartens, the children’s nutritional condition does not appear to be good.” Cho noted that no heating was being supplied to the facilities despite the cold weather.
Cho said that while North Korean authorities did not official request food aid, a request was made under unofficial circumstances.
Cho also noted that construction efforts were under way on a highway connecting Pyongyang with Sinuiju.
“It is not very far from Pyongyang to Chongju, but I think the trip took about four hours because of the detour around the highway construction,” he said.
Analysts said this appears to be linked to hurried infrastructure building efforts, including highway servicing and construction, amid recent moves by North Korea to rebuild its economy through a stronger economic partnership with China.
  
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