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Seoul to continue humanitarian aid to DPRK
Updated: 2005-02-13 16:31

South Korea has said it will continue to provide humanitarian aid to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) despite that the DPRK has announced to suspend indefinitely its participation in the six-party nuclear talks.

South Korean Yonhap News Agency quoted Foreign Minister Ban Ki- moon as saying Saturday in Washington "We will continue to provide rice and fertilizer unless the situation deteriorates as we're providing them on humanitarian grounds."

Ban Ki-moon, who is now in the United States for a visit, told a group of South Korean correspondents "Neither (US) Vice President (Dick) Cheney nor any other US government officials I have met until today have talked about the fertilizer aid to North Korea (DPRK)."

South Korea has shipped 300,000 tons of fertilizer to the DPRK annually since the 2000 inter-Korean summit, excluding 2001. Seoul has so far provided 1.55 million tons of fertilizer to the DPRK.

On the project for construction of an industrial park in DPRK's border city of Kaesong, Ban said, "I understand we are proceeding with the pilot project as scheduled in consideration of its symbolic meaning."

Ban, however, said Seoul will have to reconsider the inter- Korean economic cooperation project "if the situation changes."

The South Korean top diplomat also said South Korean and US intelligence agencies are reviewing DPRK's nuclear declaration to assess the county's actual nuclear capability.

"We have so many uncertainties (concerning DPRK's nuclear capability) and we will be able to explain that to people after closely discussing the issue with concerned nations," he said.

Ban arrived in Washington Thursday to discuss the nuclear issue. He is expected to meet US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Monday.

The DPRK announced Thursday to suspend its participation in the six-party nuclear talks for unlimited period of time.

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