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S. Korea Offers Aid to N. Korea to Contain FMD

24 February 2014

SOUTH KOREA - South Korea offered to provide aid to North Korea to help contain the first outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) in the communist country in about three years, a government official said Monday, amid signs of warming ties between the archrivals.

According to Yonhap News Agency, South Korea also proposed that the rival Koreas hold talks at a convenient time for the North to discuss Seoul's humanitarian assistance to the North, the unification ministry official said.

He said South Korea plans to provide disinfectants and preventive medicine to the North if Pyongyang calls for Seoul's aid during the possible talks.

The move came just days after the North confirmed that the animal disease broke out at a pig farm in a suburb of Pyongyang on 8 January, and has since spread to 17 areas of Pyongyang and a county near the North's capital.

The North said it has killed 2,900 pigs and buried about 360 pigs that died from the outbreak of the disease - the first since April 2011. The disease continues to spread, however, due to a lack of vaccines, diagnostic means and disinfectants.

The World Organization for Animal Health said the North reported the outbreak more than a month after it broke out, without explaining why.

The disease is an infectious and sometimes fatal one that affects cloven-hoofed animals such as pigs, cattle, deer and sheep.

Seoul's offer comes as a second round of reunions is under way at a North Korean mountain resort for hundreds of South and North Korean families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War.


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