South Korean authorities announced on Thursday that they would proceed with some $8 million in humanitarian aid to North Korea through U.N. agencies. The approval of the plan by the country’s Unification Ministry came as the international community is working to increase economic pressure on Pyongyang over its nuclear program.
The ministry said in a statement it intends to launch the plan before the end of the year.
“Previously, such support [for North Korea] were launched within months after the decision was made,” a ministry official said.
About $4.5 million from the package will be provided to the U.N. Food Program, while UNICEF will receive the other part of the funds for its health care programs in North Korea.
Seoul’s decision raised concerns in the United States and Japan. In a speech at the U.N. General Assembly on Wednesday, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called on members to ensure strict enforcement of North Korea sanctions and underscored that any response to Pyongyang requires “the solidarity of the international community.”
Speaking at the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday, U.S. President Donald Trump threatened to “totally destroy North Korea,” if Washington is forced to defend itself or its allies.
Responding to the threat, North Korea’s Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho likened Mr. Trump to a “barking dog” on Thursday, adding that he “felt sorry” for the U.S. president’s advisers.