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S. Korea To Send Aid to N. Korea

March 9, 1998

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) _ South Korea will provide 50,000 tons of grain for North Korea in response to a global appeal from the U.N. World Food Program, government officials said Monday.

Details of the aid, including its composition and timing, will be determined later through consultations with the U.N. organization, South Korea’s Ministry of Unification said in a statement.

The move comes a week after North Korea made an urgent appeal for outside help, saying its grain stocks will run out in mid-March.

The Rome-based food program issued a new appeal in January for 650,000 tons of food for hungry North Koreans over the next year. The United States already has pledged 200,000 tons. The first U.S. shipment is scheduled to arrive in North Korea in early April.

South Korea has given North Korea $285 million worth of rice and other grains since 1995.

North Korea has suffered through three years of disastrous weather that aggravated food shortages caused by inefficient farming techniques.

A North Korean food expert who defected to South Korea in February has said that about 1 million North Koreans have died of starvation in the past several years.

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