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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

S. Korea Agrees to Send N. Korea Rice Deliveries

SEOUL, South Korea -- South Korea agreed Sunday to send 400,000 tons of rice to North Korea despite Pyongyang's failure to meet a deadline to shut down its nuclear reactor.

Seoul attached no conditions to the aid delivery, according to the text of an agreement reached in the early hours of Sunday, after five days of discussions on economic aid in the North Korean capital.

South Korea's chief delegate, Chin Dong-soo later stressed that the rice shipments were contingent on whether North Korea moves to implement a nuclear disarmament deal reached in February.

Seoul told Pyongyang that the rice shipments "cannot proceed as agreed upon without a condition that the North sincerely implements the [February] agreement, that we would have to link the timing and speed of rice aid shipments," Chin told reporters in Pyongyang, pool reports said.

The first batch of rice will be sent in late May, the agreement said.

Seoul will send 350,000 tons by sea, while the remaining 50,000 tons would be driven by vehicle over land, across the world's most heavily fortified border.

North Korea failed to meet an April 14 deadline to shut its Yongbyon nuclear facility over a delay in the release of $25 million in funds frozen in a Macau bank blacklisted by the United States for allegedly assisting the North with money laundering and counterfeiting.

Washington and the bank, Banco Delta Asia, said earlier this month that the North's accounts were no longer frozen.

But North Korea, for unknown reasons, has yet to withdraw the money.

Pyongyang on Friday reaffirmed its commitment to the disarmament pledge, but said it was still waiting to confirm that its funds had been released.

South Korea's chief delegate to nuclear talks, Chun Yung-woo, will travel to Washington on Monday to discuss with U.S. officials the nuclear impasse, an official at the Foreign Ministry said Sunday on condition of anonymity due to protocol.