S. Korea suspends pledged aid to DPRK

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South Korea has suspended delivery of pledged aid to the Democ ratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) following its artillery barrage on a South Korean island, the unification ministry said Wednesday.

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The package of aid, including the first government-financed rice aid in years, was meant to help the DPRK cope with flood damages sustained in August. 5,000 tons of rice, three million cups of instant noodles and 3,000 tons of cement have already reached the northwestern DPRK city of Sinuiju.

But the planned delivery of some 7,000 tons of cement and medical supplies worth 580 million won (500,000 U.S. dollars) will be suspended, and the government will stop civic groups from sending humanitarian aid to the DPRK, ministry spokesman Chun Hae- sung told reporters.

The ministry on Tuesday postponed indefinitely Red Cross talks over reunion of families separated by the 1950-1953 Korean war in protest against what Seoul sees as Pyongyang's unprovoked shelling on Tuesday afternoon. The talks were originally slated for Thursday.

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