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ROK to continue malaria aid to DPRK

The South Korean government said today that it will continue its annual project of sending malaria aid to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) despite growing tensions over Pyongyang's impending rocket launch.

Seoul plans to donate US$1.09 million to the World Health Organization (WHO), which will later be given to the DPRK to fight against malaria, the Ministry of Unification said.

"This project is good not only for people in the North but for our citizens as well," Unification Minister Hyun In-taek said at a parliamentary meeting.

Seoul officials explain that the aid contributed to reducing malaria infections among South Koreans living in the border region or visiting the DPRK.

South Korea has been a major source of malaria aid for the DPRK since 2001 after the country went through a harsh malaria breakout.

With aid from South Korea, the number of malaria patients in the North was reported to drop to 23,400 last year, down from some 200,000 in 2000, the ministry said.


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