Wednesday, June 11, 2008

S. Korea Urges Hungry North Korea to Accept Corn Aid

Current South Korean President Lee Myung-bak has adopted a far stiffer approach to aiding North Korea than his two predecessors - both of whom sent hundreds of thousands of tons of rice and fertilizer across the border every year, with no strings attached.

South Korea says it is willing to send
50,000 tons of immediate food aid to impoverished North Korea. The aid would fulfill a deal made during the previous South Korean administration, but may not ease a stalemate between Pyongyang and the South's current president.

North Korea angrily responded by labeling Mr. Lee a traitor and threatening to turn Seoul into ash. Pyongyang has suspended practically all diplomatic contacts with the Lee administration and has remained silent on the South's offer to provide aid without preconditions as long as the North makes a formal request.

Do Hee-youn, president of the Seoul-based Citizen's Coalition for Human Rights of Abductees and North Korean Refugees, says decades of hunger in North Korea are to be blamed on the North Korean government's own decisions. He says handing over food aid without changing Pyongyang's basic food policies would be like "pouring water into a broken jar."

[Excerpt of an article by Kurt Achin, Voice of America]

No comments: