In a move no one expected, and which puts them squarely at odds with the US, South Korea today announced the provision of a new $8 million aid package for neighboring North Korea. The provision of humanitarian aid is directly in contrast with US calls for “more pressure.”
South Korea’s Unification Ministry says that there is no risk of the aid being diverted to military use, and will not include any cash payments. Rather, the aid is to wholly be in the form of food and medicine for children and pregnant women.
This is particularly timely, as North Korean Ambassador Han Tae Song was complaining to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child on Wednesday that the mounting UN-imposed sanctions are endangering local children, and forcing cuts in both health and education for them.
That UN sanctions are predominantly hitting children is hardly a shock, as it’s generally the case with major sanctions against any country. That South Korea is mitigating the worst of this harm risks fueling leading to a US backlash, as the US and South Korea have long been on different pages on North Korea, as to whether to continue escalating tensions or try diplomacy.