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US, Japan, S. Korea pledge millions in food aid

TOKYO -- The United States, Japan and South Korea pledged up to US$535 million to a World Bank-sponsored food security program on Friday, in a bid to reduce poverty in developing countries.

“The United States is prepared to commit one dollar to this program for every two dollars committed by other donors, up to a total U.S. contribution of US$475 million,” U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said, referring to the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP).

South Korean Finance Minister Bahk Jae-wan said Seoul will provide US$30 million over the three years from 2013 to 2015, while Japan's Vice Finance Minister Tsutomu Okubo pledged the same amount.

The promises were made at the GAFSP meeting held on the sidelines of the IMF and World Bank annual gatherings in Tokyo.

U.S. President Barack Obama “took the view that the durable solutions to crisis of chronic hunger had to be ... more than just delivering food aid. It had to be about promoting sustainable economic growth in agriculture,” Geithner said.

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