Seoul: A South Korean freighter carrying
5,000 tons of rice has left the South Korean port of Gunsan to China for delivering them to flood-stricken North Korea.
The shipment that left yesterday is part of a 13.9
billion ton (about USD 12.3 million) flood relief
pledged by South Korea in the aftermath of recent flooding in
the North. It is the first government aid to Pyongyang under
President Lee Myung Bak, who came to office in February 2008.
The cargo ship is heading for the Chinese port of Dandong
on the border with North Korea, where the rice aid will be
delivered by trucks to the North Korean city of Sinuiju, which
had been severely affected by flooding.
Another ship carrying about 3 million packs of instant
noodles had set sail for Dandong from the South Korean port
Incheon on Monday.
The departure of the rice shipment was put off because of
foul weather, South Korean officials said.
South Korea also plans to send 10,000 tons of cement to
North Korea later this week.’
Relations between Seoul and Pyongyang have eased in
recent months from heightened tensions following the sinking
of a South Korean warship near the North Korean border.
North Korea has offered to hold dialogue with the South,
and the two sides are making arrangements for reunions of 200
Korean families separated in the aftermath of the 1950-1953
The reunions, the first in more than a year, are
scheduled to take place from Oct 30 to Nov 5.