Vice FM holds talks with UNICEF chief

SEOUL-- Second Vice Foreign Minister Lee Tae-ho met with the chief of the U.N. Children's Fund (UNICEF) on Monday and discussed cooperation in aid for the underprivileged around the globe, including those in North Korea, the foreign ministry said.

In the talks with Executive Director Henrietta Fore, Lee was informed in detail of UNICEF's current push for humanitarian projects in North Korea using the US$3.5 million provision by the Seoul government, the ministry said in a release.

In June, South Korea decided to provide $8 million for aid projects run by international organizations that are designed to help infants and pregnant women in North Korea. Of the amount, $3.5 million was given to UNICEF.

The bulk of the fund to UNICEF has been spent to purchase emergency medications and nutritional supplies for children under age 5 and pregnant or breastfeeding mothers in the impoverished state, the ministry added.

Noting that cooperation with UNICEF has been expanding, Lee proposed the two sides work closely together also in carrying out the South Korea-led initiative named "Action with Women and Peace," which largely aims to eradicate war violence against women.

Later in the day, Unification Minister Kim Yeon-chul also met with the UNICEF chief and reaffirmed his commitment to a close cooperation with the U.N. agency for providing humanitarian support to North Korea.

"Our government's principle is to push for humanitarian aid projects in North Korea down the road, separate from the political situation," Kim said.

Fore said, "There are still many needs that we are working on, in nutrition, in health" and expressed gratitude for South Korea's cooperation in "helping the children that are the most in need."

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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