North Korea really does want international aid to help its people recover from a summer of storms capped by a devastating typhoon, but it just can't bring itself to accept what rival South Korea is offering. North Korea isn't ideologically opposed to accepting aid from the South or anything like that, but it's picky. The North had initially accepted the South's offer of help on Monday, but when the contents of that offer were revealed on Wednesday, Pyongyang called it an "insult" and turned it down. The offending package, per the Associated Press: "10,000 tons of flour, 3 million packages of ramen noodles, and medical supplies, according to South Korean officials." The aid package would have marked the first time North Korea, still technically at war with the South, would have accepted aid from Seoul since it was halted in 2010, and the first time since Kim Jong-un took power, but that's not for lack of trying on the South's part. Reuters' Jack Kim and Ju-min Park noted on Monday that "South Korea's offer of help last year was pulled when the North asked for building materials and equipment instead of food and medicine worth nearly $5 million as offered." The North is willing to accept aid from the South, just as long as it offers the right stuff.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.