Unusual aid sent to starving North Korea

While most donors are sending food to help impoverished North Koreans, a South Korean cosmetics company said Wednesday it has delivered other necessities: lipstick and eye shadow, AP reports.

Able C&C said it donated 430 million won (US$451,000; 352,000 euro) worth of cosmetics, also including shampoo and soap, to the communist North in June.

The products were delivered to North Koreans in areas near Diamond Mountain, where South Korea operates a tourist resort, the Seoul-based company said in a statement, claiming it was the first aid donation containing makeup to be sent to the North.

"Since cosmetics are not luxury goods, but daily necessities, we thought North Koreans would really need them," CEO Yang Soon-ho said in the statement. "We decided to send the makeup aid in hopes of enhancing the lives of the North Koreans."

Able C&C said it will consider sending more aid in the future as part of efforts to enhance "cultural exchange" between the North and South.

North Korea has relied on foreign handouts since the mid-1990s, when natural disasters and mismanagement devastated its economy and led to a famine estimated to have killed some 2 million people.

Aid to North Korea - which usually has an annual food shortage of 1 million tons - mostly comprises of rice and fertilizer.