Report: food aid to North Korea is for the Political and Military Purpose

05-09-2011 12:00 AM

Ammon News - AMMONNEWS - After reporting food shortages, North Korea initiated an aggressive campaign begging 40 countries and international organizations for food aid, with the goal of receiving 800,000 tons They began asking for food aid last December, less than two months after the fall grain harvest season.

However, the overall response of the international community has been slow. As a matter of fact, a third of World Food Programme(WFP)'s budget has yet to be secured. Particularly, China, which has long served as North Korea's food supplier of last resort, has not actively assisted North Korea with food aid. At the same time, North Korea has not publicly asked China for help. If North Korea were truly suffering from a food shortage, it is likely that China would have stepped in.

No signs of food shortage despite WFP's claims

In February and March, 2011, WFP dispatched representatives from Food and Agriculture Organization(FAO) and The United Nations Children's Fund(UNICEF) in order to investigate the food shortage situation in North Korea. Based on the observances from this trip, they published the "Rapid Food Security Assessment."

Without citing specific evidence, this report stated that the food stock would run dry by May,
2011. That warning turned out to be unfounded. There have not been any signs of a food shortage or massive starvation.

North Korea also reported that it produced 5.11 million tons of grain in 2010, which was
100,000 tons more than in 2009. This report suggests there are some reasons North Korea is seeking 800,000 tons of grains. Furthermore, North Korea has approximately 1 million military rations in reserve-they could release that if they were truly suffering from a food shortage

In this regard, foreigners who resided in North Korea and the representatives who visited North Korea for an investigation reported that the food situation is better than it was in 2010. Peter Hughes, British Ambassador to Pyongyang, noted at the Chatham House in May,
2011 that there was no indication of serious famines in North Korea. A European NGO official in Pyongyang also commented that the food situation in North Korea did not seem to be significantly worse compared to 2010.

Ambassador Robert King, Special Envoy for North Korean Human Rights Issues, recently emphasized, "There are shortages of food in certain areas but North Korea is not in a hunger crisis overall."

Appeal for Food Aid is for the Political and Military Purpose

Why does North Korea keep begging foreign countries for food aid when their food situation has not worsened compared to previous years? The answer seems to be obvious: The North Korean regime has repeatedly told its own people that the nation will achieve a so­ called "powerful and prosperous nation" in 2012. This is the regime's plan brainwashing their people. The year of 2012 marks the lOOth anniversary of the birth of Kim 11-Sung, the founder of North Korea, as well as the 70th birthday of the current North Korea leader, Kim Jong-11.

In order to enhance the domestic atmosphere, North Korea needs surplus food. In addition, ensuring military loyalty before changing leaders in North Korea will also require massive amounts of food. Kim Jong-Il's regime exaggerates the conditions and lies to the international society so that it can stockpile food for strategic political reasons.

2. Fact or fiction: Is North Korea really in need of immediate help?

North Korea's economic level is still above that of Tanzania, Myanmar, and

According to the 2010 statistics of the CIA, North Korea's GDP is about 40 billion dollars. Based on purchase power parity, this number ranks at 96 out of 194 countries. Per capita is reported to be 1,800 dollars which puts North Korea 160th out of 194 countries. This number
is just above Tanzania ($1,400, 1691h), Myanmar ($1,400, 1701h), and Rwanda ($1,100, 1771h).
Even though North Korea receives a much higher rate of food aid from WFP compared to those three countries, it only ranks right above them.

WFP has committed to provide 350,000 tons to Tanzania (from Jan. 2007 to Jun. 2015),
150,000 tons to Myanmar (from Jan. 2010 to Dec. 2012), and 94,000 tons to Rwanda (from
Jan. 2008 to Dec. 2012). But North Korea is to receive 310,000 tons from Apr. 2011 to Mar.
2012 (total of about one year) from WFP.

Also, as of 2011, North Korea is receiving the 2nd most funding out of thirty beneficiary countries set by Central Emergency Response Fund(CERF). It seems that one of the North Korean strategies is to take an advantage of the international organization resources.

The Kim's Life of Luxury and the Development ofWMDs

While North Korea has appealed for food aid, it has spent vast numbers of foreign currency in purchasing luxuries for Kim's family. Kim Jong-Il owns about 30 private villas throughout the land of North Korea. Tens of millions of dollars are spent on its maintenance and development. According to a recent report, yet another villa is being built for Kim's family.

In addition, Kim's regime has expended on maintaining the communism, developing the nuclear weapons ($100 million) and missiles ($170 million), and building up the military forces.

In particular, since Kim Jong-un was nominated to be the successor after Kim Jong-Il in January, 2009, approximately $470 million have been spent on luxuries, the development of WMD, and fireworks and laser shows for the anniversary of Kim 11- Sung. With this amount of money, 800,000 tons of rice ($600/ton), 160 tons of corns ($300/ton) could have been bought, and consequently, the amount of 86 tons claimed by WFP in March 2011 could have been covered.

Kim Jong-Il's regime has controlled 'food' in order to maintain its power

Kim Jong-11 has controlled 'food', a basic element for survival, for maintaining his power. While he distributed food to the political, party, and military class in order to secure absolute loyalty, he has completely prevented an uprising by leaving its people starve.

Furthermore, during Kim Il-Sung's ruling, the regime has exploited its people through "rice and meat soup" instigation. Kim Jong-Il often says that the better food, the better life, but
he never wants his people's well-being. This is because that Kim Jong-il has adhered to the
Juche philosophy, has not considered allowing private ownership instead of a failed cooperative farm system, and will continue to do so.

Exclusively Distributed to the Elite

The South Korean government, in an effort to help starving North Koreans, has generously provided about 3,400,000 tons of food and the WFP has provided 4,000,000 tons including
500,000 tons from South Korea since 1995. But the North Korean regime distributed exclusively to the ruling elite.

According to the statements ofNorth Korean defectors, they hardly ever saw a case where aid from South Korea was distributed to people. Rather, the food aid was diverted to the military bases. After all, food aid is used only for military purposes even though it is thoroughly monitored the delivery of humanitarian assistance.

In a survey conducted in March, 2011 by the Network for North Korean Democracy and Human Rights, an NGO based on South Korea, out of 500 North Korean defectors residing in South Korea, 78% answered that they did not receive food aid from South Korea or international organizations when they were in North Korea. Out of 109 people who positively answered, 27% (29 persons) said that they returned food back to the regime immediately.

On the other hand, the Korean Central News Agency, the domestic radio broadcasting of North Korea, reported about "The Pledge on Military Food", which had been discussed during the national convention on July 4th. However, the Korean Central Television which is viewable by foreign countries omitted the related contents.

It indicates that in that case the fact that agricultural laborers support military food is released, the international community will have its suspicions confirmed about North Korea diverting food to the military, rather than to the ordinary people who are in need.

Moreover, North Korea teaches that food aid from South Korea and international society is the result of "Kim Jong-Il's great leadership." Consequently, humanitarian assistance to North Korea feeds only the elite and military class and delays the development of market economy within North Korea.

No Food Aid to the Group that Simultaneously Carrying Out a War

Food aid to North Korea may lead to adverse effects, for example, the expenses for grains could be diverted to enhance the military forces. How can the North Korean regime have resources for nuclear weapons, missiles, and WMDs? For the torpedo that sank the Cheonan corvette? For ammunition that was shelled at Yeonpyeong Island? Our goodwill turned out to be a dagger.

The current aid system of "giving while standing (on the side of South Korea and International Society) and receiving while seated (on the side of North Korea)" needs to be reconsidered. We have provided North Korea with tons of food. Nevertheless, North Korea neither stopped nuclear weapon development nor provocations against South Korea. North Korea took it even further, attacking the Cheonan and a peaceful Yeonpyeong Island.

The South Korean government has demanded an apology for the sinking of the Cheonan and the attack on Yeonpyeong Island. Rather, North Korea has continued to threat the South Korean government. If food aid resumes under these circumstances, it would no longer be humanitarian assistance, but subservience to threats.

In general, humanitarian assistance should be the last resort only after a country's own efforts fail to solve a domestic problem. At the UN General Assembly in December, 1991, it issued a resolution that a country in need of humanitarian aid is primarily responsible for protecting its own people. Therefore, North Korea does not deserve any food assistance since it has not taken its own primary responsibility.

South Korea worries about the food aid does not help the North Korean people who are in need as long as the regime refuses to change. Instead, it will sustain Kim Jong-Il's power, which has inflicted great hardships upon its people. We will face another threat just like the sinking of the Cheonan and the attack on Yeonpyeong Island.

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