Despite Sanctions, S. Korea Lends Helping Hand to North

Via $8M in humanitarian aid, which some critics aren't happy about
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 21, 2017 9:21 AM CDT
S. Korea's Offer of Aid for North Sparks Debate
Aid is loaded onto a North Korean ship in Ulsan, South Korea, in 2005.   (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man, File)

Despite the UN approving new sanctions against North Korea this month, South Korea is offering its neighbor a helping hand. For the first time in nearly two years, the South Korean government says it plans to deliver $8 million in humanitarian aid to vulnerable groups in the North by way of UNICEF and the World Food Program, reports VOA News. South Koreans reportedly aren't pleased—the Guardian reports President Moon Jae-in saw a drop in his high approval rating as a result—and neither are some US analysts, who feel South Korea is rewarding the North at a time when other countries are seeking to punish the country over its nuclear tests.

There are some, however, who see the move as positive, particularly after a North Korean diplomat said sanctions threaten the lives of North Korean children, per Reuters. South Korea is right to separate humanitarian issues and politics and to keep diplomatic channels open as tensions continue to escalate, some analysts say. One critic tells VOA that Pyongyang will divert at least 30% of food aid "to the military or the elite." But South Korea's unification ministry says there is "realistically no possibility" that North Korea's military will benefit from $4.5 million in supplies for children and pregnant women and $3.5 million in vaccinations and other health treatments. (More North Korea stories.)

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