For the first time in seven years, South Korea has permitted the shipment of bottled water produced in North Korea to the South.
 
This is the first such move since Seoul imposed sanctions in 2010 aimed at banning inter-Korean exchanges.
 
The Unification Ministry said Wednesday it has approved a local civic group's request to bring in 46-thousand bottles of mineral water produced in North Korea.
 
It added the water will be used for religious events, not for sale and explained this is based on spurring civilian exchanges and not hampering international sanctions.
 
A Chinese-Korean businessman is known to have bought bottles of Mount Kumgang Spring Water in North Korea and donated them to the group. 
 
The bottled water, which arrived in the South last month, is awaiting customs clearance at a port in Incheon.

A ministry official cautioned against a wider interpretation, saying that there is no change in the government's sanctions policy against the North.