It seems likely that flour aid to North Korea may be restarted only nine months after the Yeonpyeong Island shelling in November last year.
Last March when humanitarian aid for vulnerable classes, including infants, was allowed in to the north, flour was excluded because it is likely to be misused for the military.
An official of the Ministry of Unification said on Tuesday that, “Humanitarian aid for vulnerable classes was restarted in March this year and 31 cases of aid have been allowed through.” He went on, “There is an NGO request to send flour, so we are now considering it.”
He explained, “Until now, flour has not been included in the aid items to North Korea, but it is possible to send it to vulnerable classes. After examining whether there are any problems in the transparency of distribution, we will make a decision as to whether or not to allow the aid”
Regarding the likelihood of misusing flour he said, “The government’s stance is that we must demand transparency in distribution so that it cannot be misused. We will make a decision after examining what NGOs can negotiate regarding the issue of transparent distribution within North Korea.”
With respect to a request that the South must demand monitoring at the same level as the EU demands he noted that, “It is hard for NGOs to do so because the EU has its own personnel residing in North Korea for monitoring.”
NGOs who have been allowed to send necessary goods to the North are Won Buddhism, North and South Living Together Movement, Good Neighbors, and TB Zero Movement. They are planning to send anti tuberculosis drugs, powdered milk, diapers, vitamin supplements and other items worth approximately 387,000 dollars in total. In addition, members of Won Buddhism will be visiting the North in order to discuss powdered milk and diaper aid, on the 20th.