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U.S. pledges flood aid to North Korea

By Paula Hancocks, CNN
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The aid represents a further thawing in relations between the two countries
  • The U.S. State Department says the aid will be distributed through American organizations
  • It is not expected to include food aid
RELATED TOPICS
  • North Korea
  • Floods

Seoul (CNN) -- The United States has pledged $900,000 of emergency aid to North Korea after devastating floods hit the reclusive state this month.

The aid represents a further thawing in relations between the two countries after high-level dialogue resumed in New York last month. The talks were described as "exploratory" to see whether de-nuclearization negotiations could resume.

The U.S. State Department said Thursday the aid will be distributed in North Korea's Kangwon and Hwanghae provinces through American nongovernmental organizations.

It "includes things like plastic sheeting, tents, that kind of humanitarian housing relief, that kind of thing," said Victoria Nuland, State Department spokeswoman.

It is not expected to include food aid.

The U.S. sent a fact-finding mission to North Korea in May after repeated requests for food, but has not made a decision whether to answer those calls. The U.S. says it needs guarantees of transparency and assurances the food would reach those who need it most.

Earlier this month, the U.S. pledged an additional $300,000 in aid.

South Korea also announced this month that it would deliver 5 billion won ($4.7 million) worth of medical and essential goods through the Korean Red Cross.

This is widely seen as a conciliatory gesture from South Korea. President's Lee Myung-Bak's administration has previously had a more hardline approach to the North.

Tensions between the two Koreas have been high since attacks by the North last year killed 50 South Koreans.

 
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