Saturday, May 26, 2007

South Korea delaying the shipment of rice aid to North

South Korea is seriously considering delaying the shipment of rice in aid to the North until after the process of implementing the North Korean nuclear agreement has been set in motion.

When the South promised on April 22 to provide the North with 400,000 tons of rice, it told the North Koreans that it would retain the right to adjust the "time and speed of delivery" depending on a follow-through on the Feb. 13 nuclear accord or the lack thereof. But the North refused to shut down its Yongbyon nuclear facilities and take other initial measures of the accord, insisting that it first take possession of $25 million deposited with the Macau-based Banco Delta Asia.

A better idea would be to make an initial shipment and adjust the speed of delivery thereafter while watching what the North does or does not do in connection with the nuclear accord.

For its part, the United States will do well to help arrange the transfer of the funds as soon as possible. That surely is what it needs to do if it does not want the hard-won nuclear accord to collapse.

[The Korea Herald]

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