Seoul: A rare meeting of North Korea`s
ruling party expected to pave the way for a leadership
succession has been delayed because of damage from floods and
a typhoon, South Korean reports said on Wednesday.
The communist party conference -- the North`s most
important political gathering in three decades -- was slated
for the first half of September but South Korean officials
said there are no signs it has got under way.
Senior North Korean officials have told international
agencies in Pyongyang that the delegates` meeting has been
delayed because of storm damage, Seoul`s Yonhap news agency
quoted a source as saying.
Authorities were also mindful that a major gathering
at this time could stir resentment among flood victims
awaiting help, Yonhap said.
It said there was no word on when the meeting would
Seoul welfare group Good Friends also said the meeting
had been delayed because floods had disrupted travel for some
It said no new date has been set but it apparently
would be held before October 10, the ruling party anniversary.
South Korean Unification Minister Hyun In-Taek said
the meeting may not take place today "probably because of
floods or for various other reasons".
"There might be some internal reasons but our
government needs accurate information to confirm," he told
Official media in the secretive state has given no
hint of a starting date.
But the North`s news agency said Wednesday that dozens
of people were killed by Typhoon Kompasu which hit the
peninsula on September 2.
The storm also destroyed 8,380 homes and 230 public
buildings and severely damaged farmland, roads, railways and
power lines, the agency reported.
Last month the impoverished North was hit by floods
which wreaked severe damage in some border areas near China
and caused an unspecified number of deaths.
South Korea`s government said today it has approved a
plan by local groups to send flood relief aid to the North,
the second such announcement this week amid an apparent
thawing in frosty cross-border relations.
The Unification Ministry said it approved requests to
send supplies worth a total of 2.24 billion won (USD 1.2
million) including 203 tonnes of rice.