Seoul stands firm on humanitarian aid to Pyongyang despite missile test

2017.09.15 15:44:38 | 2017.09.15 15:45:02

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The South Korean government maintained firm on its plan to contribute $8 million in international humanitarian aid to North Korea even as the Pyongyang regime defied latest strongest-yet U.N. and unilateral sanctions from the U.S., Europe and Japan and fired another long-range missile over Japan Friday.

North Korea on Friday fired a missile that flew over the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido before it fell 2,200 kilometers away in the Pacific Ocean. The missile traveled 3,700 kilometers - nearly 1,000 kilometers farther than the intermediate-range ballistic missile fired on Aug. 29 and far exceeding the distance of 3,400 kilometers to Guam, a U.S territory which North Korea threatened to bombard.

Following the North’s missile firing, the South President Moon Jae-in immediately ordered the country’s military to fire ballistic missiles in show of the country’s deterrence capabilities. He also commended to analyze the North’s biological weapon program and readiness against possible threats.

The South Koran government reaffirmed strong alliance with the U.S. and close cooperation with the international community to stand against North Korea’s provocation. Also, it again urged Pyongyang to give up its nuclear and missile development and join talks of denuclearization.

Seoul said it won’t connect humanitarian assistance to military tensions.

The South will decide whether to provide $8 million in aid to the North requested by international agencies under the United Nations including UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and World Food Programme (WFP) at a meeting on inter-Korean cooperation on Sept. 21.

The government’s consideration for the humanitarian aid comes despite the UN’s 15-member Security Council unanimously agreed on their strongest-ever sanctions against North Korea on Monday in condemnation of the country’s nuclear test on Sept. 3. The new sanctions include a ban on Pyongyang’s textile exports and cap on imports of crude oil.

Moon will be visiting New York, the U.S. between Sept. 18 and 22 to attend the United Nations General Assembly where he is expected to expound on his policy on North Korea in a keynote speech on Sept. 21.

By Kang Gye-man and Ahn Doo-won

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