North Korea says China offered flood assistance

SEOUL, Sept. 29 (UPI) — North Korea said Thursday China reached out with plans for flood assistance after a “catastrophic” deluge forced hundreds of thousands of North Koreans out of their homes in late August.

Pyongyang’s state-controlled news agency KCNA reported Beijing plans to donate “material resources” to assist with flood recovery.

“The government of the People’s Republic of China agreed to donate material resources for flood damage in the North Hamgyong Province” of North Korea, the statement read.

Pyongyang also said the Red Cross Society of China and the Chinese Embassy in Pyongyang carried out flood aid projects.

KCNA did not specify the number of articles or the scale of the donation.

The floods, described as “catastrophic” have left hundreds dead and missing, according to Pyongyang state media.

Aid has been extended from the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

China did not issue a public statement on Thursday confirming North Korea’s report.

But China may have allowed North Korean officials to cross the border after the United States decided to pursue sanctions against Hongxiang Industrial, Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun reported on Thursday.

The officials traveled to Dandong, the Chinese border city where the firm, suspected of exporting dual-use goods to North Korea, is located.

A source who spoke to the Asahi on the condition of anonymity said the officials might have been dispatched as concerns grew in Pyongyang regarding the negative effects U.S. sanctions would have on China-North Korea trade.

Hongxiang Industrial is suspected of sending aluminum oxide to North Korea, which can be used in developing the centrifuges used in uranium enrichment.

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