News

Voice of America 5/11/97

NORTH KOREAN ARMY / FOOD

BYLINE=CHRIS SIMKINS
DATELINE=HONG KONG
CONTENT=
VOICED AT: 

INTRO: A PUBLISHED REPORT FROM HONG 
KONG TODAY (SUNDAY) SAYS WIDESPREAD 
HUNGER IN NORTH KOREA HAS LEFT MANY 
OF THE NATION'S SOLDIERS STARVING AND 
LOOTING HOMES FOR FOOD.  AS CORRESPONDENT 
CHRIS SIMKINS REPORTS FROM THE V-O-A 
ASIA NEWS CENTER, ANALYSTS SAY 
INSTABILITY IN THE COUNTRY IS GROWING, 
AS TENS OF THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE FEEL 
THE IMPACT OF FOOD SHORTAGES.     

TEXT:  HONG KONG'S "SOUTH CHINA DAILY" 
SAYS MANY NORTH KOREAN SOLDIERS ARE
SO HUNGRY THEY ARE BREAKING INTO 
HOMES DEMANDING FOOD AND MONEY. 
THE PAPER REPORTS NORTH KOREA'S FOOD 
SHORTAGE HAS BECOME SO WIDESPREAD 
IT IS TAKING ITS TOLL ON THE NATION'S 
MILLION-PERSON ARMY.  

THE NEWSPAPER QUOTES ETHNIC KOREAN 
CHINESE WHO RECENTLY VISITED RELATIVES  
IN THE COUNTRY AS SAYING ARMED SOLDIERS 
WERE SEEN CONDUCTING NIGHT TIME RAIDS
ON HOMES IN SEVERAL CITIES.  SOME 
ACCOUNTS SAY THE NORTH KOREAN SOLDIERS 
ARE HOLDING DOMESTIC ANIMALS HOSTAGE, 
FORCING PEASANTS TO REVEAL WHERE THEY 
KEEP THEIR GRAIN.   

ANALYSTS SAY THE FOOD CRISIS IS 
CONTRIBUTING TO POLITICAL INSTABILITY 
IN NORTH KOREA.  CHARLES MORRISON -- 
WITH THE ASIA-PACIFIC ECONOMIC 
COOPERATION FORUM (APEC) EAST-WEST 
STUDY CENTER IN HAWAII -- SAYS EFFORTS 
SHOULD BE ACCELERATED BY OTHER 
COUNTRIES TO CONVINCE NORTH KOREA 
TO TAKE PART IN FOUR-PARTY PEACE TALKS.      

            /// MORRISON ACTUALITY ///

ANY INCREASED INSTABILITY IN THE NORTH 
KOREA COULD BE A FACTOR THAT CREATES 
INSTABILITY IN THE COUNTRIES AROUND 
NORTH KOREA SO IT IS SOMETHING ON 
WHICH THE U-S , SOUTH KOREA, JAPAN AND 
CHINA ALL HAVE A VERY BIG STAKE AND 
WILL HAVE TO WORK VERY CLOSELY TOGETHER.

            /// END ACTUALITY /// 

PYONGYANG SAYS THE FOOD CRISIS HAS NOT 
AFFECTED THE NORMAL OPERATIONS OF ITS 
MILITARY.  BUT REPORTS NEAR THE CHINESE 
BORDER SAY MANY NORTH KOREAN ARMY 
BATTALIONS HAVE BEEN ORDERED TO CLEAR 
FOREST TO PLANT THEIR OWN FOOD.  OTHER 
TROOPS ARE SAID TO BE WORKING IN 
FACTORIES WHERE THE LABOR FORCE IS 
TOO WEAK TO WORK.  DR. STEPHEN LINTON -- 
AN AMERICAN AID WORKER WHO VISITED 
NORTH KOREA TWO MONTHS AGO -- SAYS 
THE COUNTRY'S FOOD SHORTAGE IS THE 
WORSE IN ITS HISTORY. 

            /// LINTON ACTUALITY /// 

THE CHILDREN LOOKED A LOT BETTER 
THAN ANYONE ELSE BUT I THINK THE FOOD 
SHORTAGE NOW IS REACHING DOWN INTO 
THE YOUNGER GENERATIONS,  AS WELL.  
THEY LOOK BETTER THAN THE OLDER
PEOPLE BUT, CLEARLY, THEY ARE 
BEGINNING TO FEEL THE IMPACT OF THIS 
THING. I DO  NOT  THINK THEY CAN 
SUSTAIN LIFE LIKE THIS WITHOUT SOME 
SORT OF RESPITE.

            //// END ACTUALITY /// 

NORTH KOREA'S FOOD CRISIS WAS BROUGHT 
ON BY TWO CONSECUTIVE YEARS OF 
MASSIVE FLOODS THAT DEVASTATED 
MOST OF THE COUNTRY'S  CORN AND
RICE CROPS.  

DR. LINTON SAYS THE AVERAGE ADULT 
IN NORTH KOREA IS GETTING ONLY 100 TO 
200 GRAMS OF GRAIN A DAY.  REPORTS 
NOW SAY EVEN NORTH KOREAN SOLDIERS 
ONLY AVERAGE BETWEEN 500 TO 600 OF 
GRAMS OF GRAIN A DAY.  DOCTORS SAY 
A PERSON SHOULD GET AT LEAST ONE 
KILOGRAM OF GRAIN A DAY, IF THEY ARE 
NOT GETTING ANY  OTHER FOOD.  

NORTH KOREAN OFFICIALS HAD 
ACKNOWLEDGED THE FOOD SUPPLIES WOULD 
RUN OUT BY THE END OF APRIL.  THE 
UNITED NATIONS FOOD AID AGENCY 
SAYS NORTH KOREA NEEDS AT LEAST 
ONE POINT-THREE-MILLION TONS OF 
ADDITIONAL FOOD TO MEET ITS BASIC
NEEDS THIS YEAR.  IN AN EFFORT TO HELP, 
NORTH AND SOUTH KOREAN RED CROSS 
OFFICIALS WILL TRY TO REVIVE TALKS 
THAT BROKE DOWN LAST WEEK, AIMED 
AT GETTING MORE FOOD TO NORTH KOREA. 
(SIGNED)

NEB / CS / WD

11-May-97 4:44 AM EDT (0844 UTC)
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