News

DATE=2/6/97
TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
NUMBER=2-209736
TITLE=NORTH KOREA FOOD (L ONLY)
BYLINE= GIL BUTLER
DATELINE=BEIJING
CONTENT=
VOICED AT:

INTRO: THE PROBLEM OF FEEDING NORTH KOREA'S 23 MILLION PEOPLE IS ONCE AGAIN IN THE NEWS. NORTH KOREA HAS BALKED AT ATTENDING FOUR PARTY TALKS ON THE POLITICAL FUTURE OF THE PENINSULA UNTIL MORE FOOD IS PROVIDED. INTERNATIONAL RELIEF AGENCIES ARE REPORTING THE GOVERNMENT RATION OF FOOD HAS BEEN CUT TO 100 GRAMS A DAY PER PERSON -- LESS THAN NEEDED TO SUSTAIN LIFE. VOA'S GIL BUTLER IN BEIJING TALKED WITH A RED CROSS FEDERATION REPRESENTATIVE WHO HAS JUST RETURNED FROM NORTH KOREA AND HE HAS THIS REPORT.

TEXT: THE INTERNATIONAL FEDERATION OF RED CROSS AND RED CRESCENT SOCIETIES LAST NOVEMBER BEGAN A CAMPAIGN TO RAISE MONEY TO FEED 139-THOUSAND NORTH KOREANS. BUT SO FAR ONLY ABOUT 10 PER CENT OF THE NEEDED FUNDS HAVE BEEN DONATED. THE FEDERATION HAS ASKED THE EUROPEAN UNION FOR URGENT FUNDS.

THE ORGANIZATION'S REPRESENTATIVE IN NORTH KOREA, OLE GRONNING, STOPPED OFF IN BEIJING AND TALKED ABOUT THE PROBLEM OF FEEDING NORTH KOREA'S MILLIONS. HE SAID CHILDREN ARE STARTING TO SHOW THE EFFECTS OF MALNUTRITION SUCH AS FAILURE TO SHOW NORMAL GROWTH.

// GRONNING ACT //

ONE OF THE CLEAR SIGNS OF LACK OF FOOD IS SEEN AMONG CHILDREN NOW AS THE FIRST SIGNS OF SERIOUS MALNUTRITION ARE VISIBLE.

// END ACT //

MR. GRONNING SAYS FOOD WAREHOUSES IN NORTH KOREA WILL BE EMPTY BY JULY. AND THE NEXT HARVEST -- IN OCTOBER -- IS PREDICTED TO FALL 40 PER CENT SHORT OF NEEDS. SEVERE FLOODS IN 1995 AND 96 AFFECTED ALMOST A THIRD OF NORTH KOREA'S ARABLE LAND.

// GRONNING ACT //

YOU HAVE NOT YET SEEN SIGNS OF STARVING PEOPLE. I DO NOT SEE SERIOUS MALNUTRITION. THIS IS ALSO WHY WE ARE OUT NOW WITH THIS APPEAL. BECAUSE THE SITUATION IS CRITICAL AND WE WOULD LIKE TO AVOID SHOWING PICTURES OF STARVING PEOPLE IN NORTH KOREA.

// END ACT //

SOUTH KOREA'S RED CROSS SAID ON WEDNESDAY ANOTHER SHIPMENT OF FLOUR HAD BEEN SENT TO NORTH KOREA, THE SECOND IN A WEEK. IT WAS BOUGHT WITH DONATIONS FROM RELIGIOUS GROUPS.

AS FOR THE NORTH KOREA'S APPARENT LINKAGE OF FOOD AID TO ITS PARTICIPATION IN PEACE TALKS, THE U-S STATE DEPARTMENT SAYS NO GOVERNMENT GUARANTEE WAS GIVEN FOR SPECIFIC GRAIN SHIPMENTS. SPOKESMAN NICHOLAS BURNS SAID WEDNESDAY THE NORTH KOREANS MAY HAVE FAILED TO UNDERSTAND WHEN APPROVAL WAS GIVEN TO A PRIVATE FIRM -- CARGILL -- TO EXPORT GRAIN TO THEM.

MR. BURNS SAID THE UNITED STATES HAS RESPONDED TO INTERNATIONAL AID REQUESTS IN THE PAST AND IF THE WORLD FOOD PROGRAM APPEALS AGAIN IT WOULD BE CONSIDERED VERY SERIOUSLY. (SIGNED)

NEB/MGB/SFT/FC/CF

06-Feb-97 3:28 AM EST (0828 UTC)
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Source: Voice of America