C O N F I D E N T I A L SEOUL 002729
NSC FOR CHA
E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/18/2015
TAGS: PGOV ECON KS KN
SUBJECT: ROKG ANNOUNCES FLOOD ASSISTANCE TO NORTH KOREA
REF: SEOUL 2684
Classified By: A/DCM Joseph Y. Yun. Reasons 1.4 (b), (d).
Â¶1. (C) On August 11, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade
North American Affairs Division I Director Hahn Choong-hee
provided the Embassy with the Ministry of Unification (MOU)
press release announcing that the ROKG has decided to provide
USD 10 million (10 billion SKW) of matching flood relief to
North Korea through NGOs (text in para 3). Next week, Seoul
is expected to decide how much assistance it will also
provide via Red Cross channels, which will likely be in the
form of rice, probably quite large quantities. Separately,
Deputy Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se confirmed to A/DCM that
Seoul opted for a two-prong approach of (1) matching South
Korean NGO relief assistance and (2) sending additional aid
through the Red Cross.
Â¶2. (C) COMMENT: ROK efforts to paint this support as
"emergency aid" indicates that Seoul sees that renewed
assistance risks softening the "tough" ROKG response to the
DPRK missile launches. By citing ROK aid in 2004 after an
explosion at a North Korean train station and DPRK aid in
1984 following floods in the South, the MOU press release
underscores the ROKG attempt to stress the humanitarian
nature of this decision. END COMMENT.
TEXT OF 8/11 UNIFICATION MINISTRY PRESS RELEASE
Â¶3. (U) Government Decides to Participate in Emergency Relief
for North Korea Flood Damage
Today, the 5th general conference of the "Government-Private
Council for North Korean Assistance," which is a consultative
body for humanitarian aid groups and the government, was held
at the central government complex.
Today's conference was led by Hong Jeong-gil, Chairman of the
"Private Council for North Korean Cooperation" from the
private sector, and MOU Deputy Minister Shin Un-sang.
Officials from relevant ministries such as the Ministry of
Agriculture and Forestry, and the Ministry of Health and
Welfare, and representatives from North Korean aid groups
At today's conference, where emergency relief for North
Korean flood damage was discussed, the Private Council for
North Korean Cooperation said that it had made plans to send
9.86 billion won worth of relief goods such as daily
necessities and medical goods (with the participation of the
National Reconciliation Committee) to the North, and asked
for government assistance.
--The Government decided to participate in the emergency
relief project for humanitarian purposes, taking into
consideration the seriousness of the flood damage, and the
calls for assistance by the political circle and all levels
of the society.
The assistance volume that the government will contribute to
the private groups will be around 10 billion won in matching
funds, taking into consideration the assistance made by the
--Relief items will be daily necessities, medical goods, and
basic flood recovery equipment. Detailed items and volume
will be decided through private-pubic working-level meetings.
Since the (South) Korean Red Cross requested government
participation by the government, the government will hold
discussions with the Korean Red Cross next week, and
determine the items, volume, and timing of assistance.
Like the rehabilitation aid for the Ryonchong (train station)
disaster, the upcoming assistance will be made purely for
--2004 Ryongchong: 150 deceased, 1,300 injured, 89,100 houses
destroyed. Private assistance 28.3 billion won and Korean
Red Cross 42.1 billion won: Inter-Korean Cooperation Fund
3.34 billion won, special budget for grain management 7.4
billion won, national donations 17 billion won, aid given by
private sector 13.7 billion won. Total 70 billion won.
--2004 Ryongchong aid (cont'd): 5,000 metric tons of rice,
5,000 metric tons of wheat flour, as well as blankets,
instant noodles, excavators, and trucks.
--In 1984 following floods in South Korea, North Korea sent
7,300 metric tons of rice, 500,000 square meters of fabric,
and 100,000 metric tons of cement. END TEXT.