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ROK calls for humanitarian aid to DPRK during Vancouver meeting

South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha stressed the need for humanitarian aid to North Korea when the foreign ministers of concerned nations met in Vancouver, Canada on Jan. 16 to discuss Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile issues, a source close to the Japanese government has revealed.


The closed-door session was joined by the foreign ministers of 20 nations, including countries that sent troops to the UN forces during the Korean War, Japan and South Korea. Kang stated that “Because the sanctions imposed by the international community are proving effective, South Korea wants to carry out humanitarian aid for the North.” Some European nations agreed to the idea, saying that “humanitarian aid and politics should be dealt with separately.”


Meanwhile, Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono expressed opposition, saying that “humanitarian aid is not necessary for North Korea as it continues to pursue nuclear and missile development.” U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and U.K. Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson were also on the same page. That was why the joint chair statement of the meeting did not include the language on humanitarian aid. Seoul decided in September last year to resume the humanitarian aid of 8 million dollars to the North through international organizations, but has not turned it into action due to opposition from Japan, the U.S. and other countries.


With regards to this, Kono noted at a Jan. 23 press conference that “there is no option other than the international community imposing maximum pressure on North Korea” and reiterated his negative stance toward the implementation of humanitarian aid.

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