North Korea delivers fund for Japan quake victims

SEOUL, March 29, 2011 (AFP) - North Korea has handed over a fund for victims of Japan's devastating earthquake and tsunami despite strained relations between the two countries, Pyongyang's official news agency said Tuesday.

It said Ho Jong-Man, a leader of a pro-Pyongyang group of Korean residents of Japan, handed over the relief fund last Friday to the head of Japan's Red Cross.

Ho, head of the General Association of Korean Residents in Japan, said the aid was delivered "on the basis of noble humanitarianism regardless of political and diplomatic issues".

The size of the fund was not specified.

State media said last week that North Korea's Red Cross donated $100,000 for Japanese victims and their families and leader Kim Jong-Il separately sent $500,000 to help Koreans hit by the disaster.

Kim was motivated by feelings of "loving care", Ho said.

The communist state has no diplomatic relations with Japan and customarily describes it as an imperialist aggressor. Japan imposed harsh colonial rule over the Korean peninsula from 1910 to 1945.

The two countries have not yet resolved disputes over the North's kidnapping of Japanese citizens in the 1970s and 1980s to help train spies.

MySinchew 2011.03.29