Typhoon Soulik is expected to hit Mokpo, South Jeolla, around Thursday, bringing with it heavy rain and storms that may cause severe damage.
This will be the first time in six years that a typhoon will hit Korea.
The Korea Meteorological Administration (KMA) said at 9 a.m. Monday that the typhoon is passing over the sea southeast of Kagoshima, Japan, and is approaching the Korean Peninsula from below. By Wednesday morning, the medium-sized typhoon is expected to approach Seogwipo, Jeju Island. Its top wind speed is projected to be 87.2 miles per hour.
Humanitarian support is separate, gov’t says, though allies disagree
The South Korean government will give North Korea $8 million worth of aid through two international organizations under the UN, as President Moon Jae-in continues to distinguish between humanitarian assistance and political and military affairs in his dealings with the Kim Jong-un regime.
South Korea Tuesday approved an enforcement ordinance for the North Korean Human Rights Act, allowing the law to come into effect this Sunday, 11 years after the bill was first submitted to the parliament.
Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn passed the ordinance during a cabinet meeting Tuesday, five months after the law was passed by the National Assembly, ending 11 years of partisan wrangling over the content and purpose of the law.
On Monday, much welcome rain fell across the nation, and though the drought-ridden South Chungcheong region saw average precipitation of 24 millimeters, that was far from enough.
Following a dry spell over the past year, eight cities and counties in South Chungcheong, including Boryeong, Seosan and Dangjin, are seriously reviewing how to combat drought in the region and adjust water supplies, including taking advantage of the four-rivers restoration project.
The region has not seen adequate rainfall since the 74 millimeters of precipitation that fell Oct. 21, 2014.
Kim Jong-un’s offer of a summit leads to a series of concessions
The Park Geun-hye administration will offer money from the state-operated Inter-Korean Cooperation Fund to North Korea through private aid groups for the first time in five years.
The decision appeared to be part of a rapprochement that began when North Korean leader Kim Jong-un suggested a summit with the South last week.
The Ministry of Health and Welfare yesterday unveiled the results of its recent open recruitment of medical personnel to be sent to Sierra Leone in response to the deadly Ebola outbreak, while detailing the countermeasures it is considering taking if anyone on the team becomes infected with the virus.
A total of 145 health workers volunteered to go to Sierra Leone to fight Ebola, including 35 doctors, 57 nurses, 23 medical technologists and 30 on-site safety managers, the Health Ministry said.
President Park Geun-hye pledged to dispatch Korean medical personnel to countries hit with Ebola for the first time to counter the spread of the deadly virus Thursday at the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) in Milan yesterday.
In a speech at the ASEM leader’s summit, Park said Korea “has decided to send medical personnel following humanitarian assistance to cope with the spreading Ebola virus.”
Korea already pledged $5 million in humanitarian aid to help prevent the spread of Ebola last month at the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
WASHINGTON - Despite worsening U.S.-North Korean relations, an American charity is ramping up efforts against an epidemic of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis in the isolated country, where it says it is making inroads in fighting the deadly disease.
The Eugene Bell Foundation travels to North Korea twice a year, bringing high-end equipment and drugs to treat TB patients at old-world facilities.
Bus and car swept away by water, and one nuclear plant shut
Torrential rain hit the southeastern part of the country yesterday, causing five fatal accidents including a bus being swept away by rainwater that killed at least one of its passengers in Changwon, South Gyeongsang.
The Changwon police yesterday reported that a bus was washed into a flooded river and was completely submerged when it hit a bridge.
A South Korean civic group sent a large shipment of food aid for North Korean infants, a major humanitarian assistance approved by the Park Geun-hye administration.
A ship carrying 26,000 cans of powdered milk totaling 22.1 tons departed for North Korea yesterday from Incheon Port, west of Seoul. The amount can feed about 13,000 babies for a month, according to the civic group 1090 Peace and Unification Campaign, which is in partnership with the JoongAng Ilbo.
POHANG, North Gyeongsang - The Pohang city government said yesterday they have successfully planted and harvested Korean rice in Africa.
They have been operating the farm program as part of a project to help people in Africa who are suffering from famine.
“The first harvest was successfully finished in September,” 51-year-old Seo Seok-young, an official from the Agricultural Technology Center of the Pohang City Government, told the JoongAng Ilbo on the phone from Madagascar yesterday.
In March 1 address, Park Geun-hye calls for ‘more flexible engagement’
The Park Geun-hye administration is planning on stoking a thaw in the long-frosty relations with North Korea with a resumption of humanitarian assistance to the country, a senior Blue House official told JoongAng Ilbo yesterday.
“As part of trust-building efforts, we will first start humanitarian assistance,” the official said. “Besides the aid, we are also considering what else we can do.”
The United States Senate on Thursday approved a farm bill that bans food assistance to North Korea without a presidential waiver, taking a tougher stance on the Communist regime following its recent missile test.
The amendment was proposed jointly by the Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee chairman, John Kerry of Massachusetts, and ranking Republican Richard Lugar of Indiana and was passed 59 to 40.
The revision prohibits North Korea from receiving humanitarian food aid based on the Food for Peace Act unless the president grants a national interest waiver.
North Korea has seemingly decided not to accept humanitarian aid by South Korea’s private relief agencies if it comes with monitoring, aid officials here said yesterday.
North Korea has said it will only accept “pure” humanitarian aid from South Korea, in an apparent rejection of aid with strings attached, an aid official said of his recent contact with his North Korean counterpart.
Another South Korean private aid official also made a similar comment. The two spoke on condition of anonymity, citing policy.
BEIJING - During his surprise May visit to China, North Korean leader Kim Jong-il secured free fertilizer and discounted food to help alleviate the impoverished country’s chronic food shortages.
A source in Beijing who monitors North Korea-China relations told the JoongAng Ilbo on Monday that Chinese officials agreed to provide 200,000 tons of fertilizer free of charge as well as 500,000 tons of corn at a discount in exchange for rights to North Korea’s abundant natural resources.
The South Korean Red Cross will send relief aid to North Korea to help victims of the recent torrential rain, but it will not send cement or heavy equipment, which the North asked for.
The Ministry of Unification said yesterday that the Red Cross had sent a third statement to its counterpart in the North, announcing it would send 5 billion won ($4.6 million) worth of emergency food supplies and not other daily necessities and medical supplies the Red Cross had initially planned to send.
The Korea Meteorological Administration lifted warnings for most parts of the country yesterday but warned of more rains to come today as Typhoon Muifa, which claimed three lives and left one elderly man on the missing list, crept north after causing mass evacuations in east China.
The weather agency forecast precipitation of between 20 and 70 millimeters across the nation today, with this extending to 100 millimeters for the south coast and Mount Jiri in South Gyeongsang, as well as northern Gyeonggi and the Yellow Sea near the Northern Limit Line.
Following the tragic deaths and property damage, costing billions of won, following last week’s torrential downpours and landslides, the government has decided to invest more than 3 trillion won in new safety measures related to climate change.
The Ministry of Public Administration and Security’s Central Disaster Safety Measure Headquarters said yesterday that it will invest a total of 3.1 trillion won ($ 3 billion) by 2015.
A scenic mountain in the southern part of the capital that used to provide nearby residents with peace and tranquility turned into a monster Wednesday morning, taking the lives of at least 17 people in landslides.
And yesterday, criticism was being raised over stalled restoration work on Mount Umyeon - which had lost many trees in a typhoon last year - that might have contributed to the catastrophe.
Since March 31, Seoul has only allowed a minimal amount of charity to be sent into North Korea, largely for children and the disabled.
One of the few civil groups allowed to send aid is the Lighthouse Foundation, a nonprofit and nongovernmental organization founded in May 2004. To shed some light on the current state of South Korean aid to the North, the Korea JoongAng Daily sat down with Jang Chang-man, chairperson and general secretary of the Lighthouse Foundation, to see whether he thinks civil groups will get more breathing space in the future to resume aid to the North.