North Korea Allows South Korean Official to Monitor Aid

Posted November 25th, 2011 at 12:10 pm (UTC-5)
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The North Korean government has allowed a South Korean official to personally monitor aid distribution in its country for the first time since a conservative government took power in Seoul in 2008.

The South's Unification Ministry official and four aid workers will inspect three facilities, including a children's day-care center, to ensure that 300 tons of flour aid reaches the intended recipients.

The delegation is expected to return to Seoul on Tuesday.

Relations between the neighbors have been tense in recent years, especially since the North walked away from negotiations with the South and other world powers on its nuclear weapons program in 2009.

The South Korean delegation's trip comes as the United Nations warned Friday that nearly three million people will continue to require food assistance next year in North Korea.

A U.N. assessment team that recently traveled to the North found that even though North Korea's main harvest is improving, malnutrition persists in the isolated communist country.

The U.N. report quotes hospital staff as saying they expect a “significant” increase in malnutrition among young children.