Friday, February 25, 2011

Why North Korean Hunger

Chosun Ilbo states its belief that hoarding by the government and military is the main reason for the food shortage in North Korea. The reasoning:

No Drop in Food Production - According to South Korean government statistics, North Korea had bumper crops in 2005 and 2006. And the estimate of the 2010 crop yield is that it could be the best harvest in 20 years.
Hoarding Rice for the Military - In September last year, Grand National Party lawmaker Kim Moo-sung said North Korea has stored 1 million tons of rice for a war. That is enough to feed the country's 24 million people for three months. "Since 1987, North Korea has been setting aside 12 percent of its rice output as emergency supplies in case of war and 10 percent for military consumption," an intelligence official said.

Preparing for 2012 - After the severe famine from 1995 to 1997 when more than a million people starved to death, North Korea began to boast about its goal of becoming a "powerful and prosperous nation" by 2012. "North Korea is using the fantasy as a tool to keep its people calm," said Prof. Cho Young-ki of Korea University. "The North needs to stock up on food for use in the celebrations next year.”

No Assistance from China - The South Korean government says there are no signs that Beijing has provided food aid to Pyongyang recently. "If the regime was on the brink of collapse due to a food shortage, China would be the first to step in," a diplomatic source said.

Implacable Regime - According to data from Statistics Korea in January, North Korean mines contain an estimated 2,000 tons of gold and 5,000 tons of silver. There are no accounts that the North sold any of the gold or silver to buy food or that Kim Jong-Il tapped into his overseas cash hoard.

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