DATE=5/6/2000 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=KOREA AID (L-ONLY) NUMBER=2-261060 BYLINE=HYUN-SUNG KHANG DATELINE=SEOUL CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: South Korea says it will provide 200-thousand tons of fertilizer to North Korea as a humanitarian gesture. As Hyun-Sung Khang reports from Seoul, the aid comes ahead of a historic summit between the leaders of the two countries scheduled in June. TEXT: Although there has been no official request for aid from the North, a spokesman for South Korea's department responsible for relations with Pyongyang said the gift of the fertilizer was being made as a gesture of what he called, "brotherly love." The donation of 200-thousand tons of fertilizer comes after 155-thousand tons were sent by the government and private organizations last year. The South Korean news agency, Yonhap, said the cost of the fertilizer and transportation are estimated to be more than 57- million dollars. Shipments will begin later this month, in time for planting season, following negotiations between representatives of the Red Cross from the two Koreas. According to the United Nations, North Korea is suffering from a shortfall of between 400-thousand and 600-thousand tons of fertilizer. North Korea has experienced successive years of food shortages and the resulting famine has reportedly claimed hundreds of thousands of lives. South Korean officials say the North has not requested as much aid this year as it has in previous years. But food shortages and farming conditions are not thought to have improved greatly. Although the two Koreas remain technically at war because no peace treaty was signed at the end of their war in 1953, there has been a warming of relations between them in recent months. South Korean officials say the this latest donation of fertilizer was made for humanitarian reasons, but the gesture could improve the atmosphere ahead of the summit between the South Korean President, Kim Dae Jung, and the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-il, scheduled in Pyongyang, next month. The two Koreas will resume working level talks next week and are expected to announce an agreement about the procedural details of the summit. (SIGNED) NEB/HSK/JP 06-May-2000 08:36 AM EDT (06-May-2000 1236 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .
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