N.Korea gives $300,000 for Myanmar in first financial aid since 2005


SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korea has provided $300,000 to a U.N.-led humanitarian aid initiative for Myanmar, marking its first donation to other countries since 2005, U.N. data showed on Thursday.

The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)' financial tracking service showed that North Korea paid the contribution on May 24 to the Myanmar Humanitarian Fund.

The fund calls for some $276 million to help Myanmar, where hundreds of people have died since the military ousted the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi in February and began a bloody crackdown on pro-democracy protests, adding to the country's struggle with the coronavirus pandemic.

North Korea last offered financial aid to the United Nations in 2005, when it gave $150,000 for Indonesia, India, Thailand, Malaysia, Maldives and Sri Lanka - all of which were hit by a devastating tsunami in December 2004.

North Korea has longstanding relations with Myanmar, and U.N. monitors have said Pyongyang supplies weapons to the Southeast Asian nation. It has said it is investigating missile cooperation between the two countries.

South Korea has also provided $600,000 to the U.N. efforts to support Myanmar but has suspended defence exchanges and banned exports of arms and other strategic items to the Southeast Asian country.

(Reporting by Hyonhee Shin)

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