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DPRK official on food problem

PYONGYANG, FEBRUARY 3 (KCNA) -- THE SPOKESMAN FOR THE FLOOD DAMAGE MEASURE COMMITTEE OF THE DEMOCRATIC PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF KOREA (DPRK) ISSUED A STATEMENT TODAY ON THE TEMPORARY FOOD PROBLEM CAUSED BY REPEATED NATURAL DISASTERS IN THE DPRK IN RECENT YEARS. THE STATEMENT SAYS: AS IS KNOWN TO ALL, THE DPRK HAS IN RECENT YEARS BEEN REPEATEDLY HIT BY UNPRECEDENTED NATURAL DISASTERS, WHICH GREATLY DAMAGED AGRICULTURE AND OTHER SECTORS OF THE NATIONAL ECONOMY AND CAUSED TEMPORARY FOOD PROBLEM. THE NATION'S ANNUAL DEMAND FOR GRAIN IS ABOUT 7.84 MILLION TONS, OF WHICH 4.82 MILLION TONS IS NEEDED AS FOOD. LAST YEAR'S FLOOD DAMAGE MADE THE GRAIN OUTPUT DROP TO 2,502,000 TONS IN UNHULLED STATE, THE AMOUNT BEING FAR LESS THAN EXPECTED. THE FOOD INVENTORY AS OF LATE DECEMBER LAST YEAR WAS ESTIMATED AT 246,000 TONS IN ALL, EXCEPT 1,020,000 TONS OF MAIZE, POTATO AND OTHER EARLY CROPS CONSUMED IN THE JUNE- OCTOBER PERIOD, 200,000 TONS OF SEEDS FOR THIS YEAR'S FARMING, 550,000 TONS TO FEED FARMERS, 10,000 TONS FOR RAW MATERIAL IN INDUSTRIES AND ANOTHER 10,000 TONS FOR FODDER, 3,000 TONS FOR CATERING SERVICE AND THE AMOUNT SUPPLIED TO 13 MILLION INDUSTRIAL AND NONINDUSTRIAL WORKERS SINCE HARVESTING. IN THIS CONNECTION, MANY COUNTRIES AND NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL ORGANISATIONS -- GOVERNMENTAL AND NONGOVERNMENTAL -- EXPRESS DEEP SYMPATHY WITH THE KOREAN PEOPLE AND RENDER FOOD AND OTHER RELIEF GOODS TO THEM FROM THE NOBLE HUMANITARIAN POINT OF VIEW, IRRESPECTIVE OF DIFFERENCES IN IDEOLOGY, SOCIAL SYSTEM AND POLITICAL VIEW. THIS INTERNATIONAL ASSISTANCE ENCOURAGES THE KOREAN PEOPLE TO MAKE ENERGETIC EFFORTS TO RECOVER FROM THE DAMAGE AT AN EARLY DATE. IT IS ALSO INSTRUMENTAL IN STABILISING THEIR LIFE. WE ARE REALLY GRATEFUL FOR THIS. AMID CONTINUED INTERNATIONAL ASSISTANCE TO THE AFFLICTED AREAS IN THE DPRK, THE U.S. ADMINISTRATION RECENTLY ANNOUNCED THAT IT WOULD CONTINUE TO TAKE PART IN FOOD ASSISTANCE THROUGH INTERNATIONAL AGENCIES AND ENCOURAGE HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE ON THE PART OF NONGOVERNMENTAL ORGANISATIONS IN THE U.S. THIS IS NOTEWORTHY IN THAT IT IS A POSITIVE MOVE MOTIVATED BY A DESIRE FOR IMPROVED TIES BETWEEN THE DPRK AND THE U.S. AS WELL AS HUMANITARIANISM. AT THE SAME TIME, THE GOVERNMENTS OF MANY COUNTRIES AND GOVERNMENTAL AND NONGOVERNMENTAL INTERNATIONAL ORGANISATIONS AROUND THE WORLD EXPRESS THEIR WILLINGNESS TO CONTINUE EMERGENCY FOOD ASSISTANCE TO THE DPRK. NATURAL DISASTER IS OUT OF CONTROL IN ANY COUNTRY. IT IS A UNIVERSAL HUMANITARIAN PRACTICE IN INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS TO HELP THE VICTIMS IRRESPECTIVE OF DIFFERENCES IN IDEOLOGY AND SOCIAL SYSTEM. BUT THE SOUTH KOREAN AUTHORITIES HAVE INTENTIONALLY OBSTRUCTED INTERNATIONAL ASSISTANCE TO THE DPRK FROM THE BEGINNING. SOUTH KOREA'S "NATIONAL UNIFICATION BOARD" RECENTLY SPREAD GROUNDLESS RUMORS THAT THE DPRK PRODUCED 3,690,000 TONS OF GRAIN LAST YEAR, OR 6.9 PERCENT HIGHER THAN THE PREVIOUS YEAR AND IT WAS AGREED THAT THE DPRK RECEIVES FOOD AID OF 500,000 TONS FROM CHINA EVERY YEAR UNTIL 2000 SO THAT THE DPRK'S FOOD SHORTAGE IS LIKELY TO BE EASED TO SOME EXTENT. IN THIS WAY, THE SOUTH KOREAN AUTHORITIES INTEND TO SPOIL THE ATMOSPHERE OF INTERNATIONAL FOOD SUPPLY. THE FACT MAKES THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY CLEARLY KNOW THAT THEY ARE CLEAN INDIFFERENT TO THE SUFFERINGS OF THE FELLOW COUNTRYMEN IN THE NORTH AND ARE IGNORANT OF THE TREND OF THE TIME. OUR PEOPLE HAVE A PROUD HISTORY IN WHICH THEY ADVANCED VICTORIOUSLY, OVERCOMING MORE RIGOROUS TRIALS THAN TODAY'S. NO MATTER HOW HEAVY OUR ECONOMIC LOSS BY DISASTERS MAY BE, OUR GRAIN PRODUCTION WILL REACH THE PRE-DISASTER LEVEL IN THE NEAR FUTURE AND OUR TEMPORARY FOOD SHORTAGE WILL SURELY BE OVERCOME UNDER THE GUIDANCE OF THE ILLUSTRIOUS LEADER AND THE GREAT PARTY. BASED ON SUCH BELIEF IS OUR NEEDING THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY'S ASSISTANCE.