April 19, 2024

Why Pyongyang turned down humanitarian aid from the South

North Korea is testing the new government - Seoul no longer has room for strategic ambiguity

Last week North Korea refused a visit by a Seoul-based malaria prevention NGO. It was a move that took many by surprise: with Seoul increasingly showing flexibility towards Pyongyang, why would the North say no to humanitarian aid?

Many inter-Korean NGOs in the South are hoping to speed up the improvement of inter-Korean relations and make contact with, and visits to, the North. But Pyongyang knows that by saying no and increasing the level of uncertainty on the peninsula, they will be most likely rewarded with even bigger rewards in later interactions with South Korean NGOs.

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