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Setting an example

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By John Burton

President Moon Jae-in has apparently recognized that humanitarian aid is a good means to help revive stalled talks on North Korea's nuclear program. Last week, Seoul announced that it would provide 50,000 tons of rice to North Korea as that country faces a looming food shortage this summer. It was the first such planned shipment of rice by South Korea since 2010, when it sent 5,000 tons.

This follows an $8 million donation by Seoul earlier in June to two U.N. agencies, the World Food Program and UNICEF, to help feed North Koreans and provide prenatal care. Moon had previously pledged the money in September 2017, but had then delayed its disbursement when Pyongyang conducted missile and nuclear tests shortly thereafter.

The delivery of 50,000 tons of rice still falls far short of the total food aid that North Korea will need this year. The U.N. recently estimated that the country will require imports of nearly 1.4 million tons of food to adequately feed the population. Seoul suggested that it would offer more food aid after reviewing "the results of this round of support."

South Korea's sudden burst of humanitarian assistance to North Korea comes at a crucial time and may lend support to other efforts to persuade........

© The Korea Times