South Korea planned to provide its first financial aid, for the humanitarian purpose, to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) in more than four years, Yonhap News Agency reported citing Seoul's unification ministry officials.
An official was quoted as saying that Seoul decided to use state coffers, called the South-North cooperation fund, to finance civilian organizations' DPRK projects for the purpose of the humanitarian aid that will actually help the DPRK people's livelihood.
The South Korean government will spend 3 billion won (2.9 million U.S. dollars) on three DPRK projects, including 1 billion won on building greenhouses, 1 billion won on constructing pediatric clinics and 1 billion won on the dairy industry.
It will be the first time in more than four years that South Korea spends state funds on DPRK projects indirectly through civil organizations.
The latest was South Korea's 420 million won aid to the DPRK project of eliminating forest insects and diseases in May 2010, right before the so-called May 24 sanctions were imposed.
The sanctions were imposed by Seoul in 2010 when the South Korean Navy corvette Cheonan sank in waters near the disputed western maritime border with the DPRK in March that year.
The Seoul-led multinational investigation team claimed it was caused by a torpedo attack by Pyongyang, but the DPRK has repeatedly denied its involvement in this incident, in which 46 South Korean sailors aboard were killed.
The sanctions banned all inter-Korean economic and personnel exchanges except for the joint factory park in the DPRK's border town of Kaesong.
Rep. Park Young-sun, floor leader of the main opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy, met with President Park Geun-hye at the presidential office on July 10, when the floor leader asked the president to lift the sanctions.
President Park said she will push for it "from the humanitarian perspective" and within the range of enhancing national homogeneity between the two Koreas and building infrastructure in the DPRK.
Seoul has expressed its willingness to provide Pyongyang with the humanitarian aid and allow for non-political exchanges such as history, culture and sports