TITLE=KOREA AID (L-ONLY)
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,
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)
06-May-2000 08:36 AM EDT (06-May-2000 1236 UTC)
Source: Voice of America
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