While Trump and Kim Jong-un keep on sparkling (“We’ll make you disappear from Earth,” said Trump – Kim called Trump “a crazy man” assuring him that he will pay “dear” for his threats), between the two Koreas thing are going better. South Korea approved the delivery of USD 8million of humanitarian aid to North Korea.
An help to permit access to this aid only for infants and pregnant women, but that could have consequences in the relations between South Korea and the United States and Japan. Japanese government spokesman Yoshihihide Suga stated that this choice could undermine international efforts to put pressure on North Korea. Confirming the importance of this geopolitical action, the immediate reaction of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who asked South Korean President Moon Jae-in to reconsider the decision or at least delay it.
The justification given by South Korean unification minister Cho Myung-gyon is that since that this aid package did not include cash payments and that there would be “realistically no possibility” of being used to finance North Korean militias. The aid granted consists of nutritional products for children and pregnant women under the UN World Food Programme and vaccinations and treatments for diarrhoea, acute respiratory diseases and malnutrition managed by UNICEF. It is estimated that about 200,000 children are suffering from acute malnutrition, increasing the risk of death and increasing disease rates,” said UNICEF Regional Manager for East Asia and the Pacific, Karin Hulshof. There is a lack of essential food and medicine and equipment for treating young children. According to the World Health Organization, the mortality rate among children up to the age of five and 25 per 1,000 cases. In neighbouring South Korea it is three in every 1,000!
According to the United Nations, 18 million of North Korea’s 25 million inhabitants need assistance because of food shortages and malnutrition (due also to the continuing embargo and difficulties in obtaining supplies).
The Seoul government has “repeatedly argued that it would pursue humanitarian aid for North Korea in view of the poor conditions among children and pregnant women”.
As was the case with Trump’s statements to the UN (which were not so much addressed to North Korea as to China), some experts also saw this decision as a possible opening up to Russia and the aid granted.
According to Realmeter, a South African polling organisation, the decision to resume humanitarian aid (a few years ago suspended) has led to a sharp fall in the approval rating of the South Korean leader.
Also published on Medium.