S. Korea to give nearly $1 million to N. Korea to support handicapped

May 19, 2015
A North Korean mother comforts her ailing son. (Yonhap)

A North Korean mother comforts her ailing son. (Yonhap)

SEOUL, May 19 (Yonhap) — South Korea said Tuesday it has decided to provide about 1 billion won (US$917,850) to support the physically handicapped in North Korea, a move aimed at boosting inter-Korean cooperation.

The Ministry of Unification said that it plans to tap into an inter-Korean cooperative fund to provide rehabilitation goods and nourishing food to those who are physically handicapped in the North.

It marked the first time since 2009 that Seoul has used the fund to support disabled people in North Korea.

The move is part of Seoul’s decision to assist the North with a combined 10.6 billion won through the fund, it said.

The government said it will offer $6.1 million to support the U.N. agencies’ program to help North Korean mothers and infants. The remainder will be provided to support a set of projects for families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War, it added.

“The move will pave the way to open channels for inter-Korean cooperation as it could help improve the humanitarian situation in North Korea and help separated families,” a ministry official said.

Seoul has said it will encourage more civilian groups to extend humanitarian assistance to North Korea as this year marks the 70th anniversary of Korea’s liberation from Japan’s 1910-45 colonial rule.