S. Korea to give US$6.3 mln to help N. Korean children

SEOUL, Sept. 27 (Yonhap) -- South Korea will give US$6.3 million in aid to help North Korean children with illnesses and stunted growth, the government said Friday.

The Ministry of Unification said the South and North Exchange and Cooperation Promotion Council approved the spending of the state-managed inter-Korea cooperation fund.

The money will be sent to the United Nations World Health Organization (WHO), which will help distribute the aid in the North .

"The assistance can help reduce illnesses and stunted growth in North Korean children in inadequate public health conditions," said ministry spokeswoman Park Soo-jin.

The latest move to provide aid comes as Seoul has made clear that it will continue providing humanitarian support to disadvantaged people in the North, like children and pregnant women, regardless of political or military developments taking place on the Korean Peninsula.

Inter-Korean relations that improved with the reopening of the Kaesong Industrial earlier this month have cooled off after Pyongyang last week abruptly postponed reunions event for familes separated by the 1950-53 Korean War.

Seoul's latest aid offer comes after it already approved shipments of humanitarian supplies by 12 South Korean charity groups. The Park Geun-hye administration already pledged $6.04 million for the U.N. Children's Fund to help people in the North.

The WHO, meanwhile, said it needs $12.6 million to upgrade medical facilities and train health service workers in the North. The money will also be used toward buying vital medical supplies to treat the sick.

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