16 Jan 2010

North Korea accepts aid from Seoul

3:59 pm on 16 January 2010

Officials in Seoul have announced that North Korea has accepted an offer of food aid from South Korea.

The offer of 10,000 tonnes of food was made in October, but no response has been given until now.

It will be the first official aid since relations soured two years ago. The UN said last year the North was very short of food following a disastrous harvest.

Unconditional aid to the North was stopped in February 2008, when it was linked to progress in nuclear disarmament.

Before then, Seoul annually sent hundreds of thousands of tonnes of food aid to the North.

The BBC reports North Korea has been reliant on foreign aid to feed its people since famine killed hundreds of thousands of people in the 1990s.

The UN World Food Programme last September predicted a shortfall of almost 1.8 million tonnes of food in 2009.