Cheong Wa Dae says humanitarian aid to NK should go as planned despite missile launch
South Korea remains unchanged in its position to provide North Korea with humanitarian assistance even though the communist regime carried out yet another ballistic missile launch, a presidential official said Friday.
Seoul's Unification Ministry announced a day earlier that the country is considering providing $8 million worth of aid to the impoverished nation via UN agencies, arguing that humanitarian assistance is separate from political tensions.
However, the decision was called into question Friday as the North fired a ballistic missile over Japan for the second time in less than a month, just days after the UN Security Council adopted a new package of sanctions to punish Pyongyang for its sixth nuclear test.
Critics raised doubts about whether it's right to provide aid when Pyongyang is ratcheting up threats.
But the presidential office stuck to the position that humanitarian aid should go as planned.
"The Moon Jae-in government's principle on North Korea remains unchanged," a Cheong Wa Dae official told reporters. "Our position is that we should respond with stern sanctions to nuclear and missile provocations, but humanitarian support can go separately from this."
The official also said that the decision to provide $8 million in aid to the North was made at the request of the UNICEF and the World Food Program. The previous conservative government of ousted President Park Geun-hye had made similar decisions, the official said.
Earlier, Cheong Wa Dae held a meeting of the National Security Council to discuss the North's missile launch. President Moon presided over the emergency meeting in an indication that he takes the provocation seriously. (Yonhap)