News

DATE=2/10/97
TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
NUMBER=2-209923
TITLE=U-S / NOKOR FOOD AID (S/L)
BYLINE=VICTOR BEATTIE
DATELINE=WASHINGTON
CONTENT=
VOICED AT:

INTRO: THE U-N WORLD FOOD PROGRAM IS EXPECTED TO ISSUE ANOTHER EMERGENCY APPEAL THIS WEEK FOR FOOD ASSISTANCE FOR NORTH KOREA. V-O-A'S VICTOR BEATTIE REPORTS BOTH SOUTH KOREA AND THE UNITED STATES INDICATE THEY ARE PREPARED TO ONCE AGAIN ASSIST PYONGYANG, WHICH IS STRUGGLING TO COPE WITH BAD WEATHER AND POOR HARVESTS:

TEXT: U-S STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESMAN NICHOLAS BURNS SAYS HE EXPECTS THE WORLD FOOD PROGRAM'S APPEAL TO BE SIMILAR TO ITS APPEAL LAST YEAR:

///BURNS ACTUALITY///

WHEN WE RECEIVE THIS APPEAL, WE WILL VERY-SERIOUSLY STUDY ITS ANALYSIS OF THE FOOD SITUATION IN NORTH KOREA. WE WILL MAKE OUR DECISION TO PROVIDE FOOD ASSISTANCE TO NORTH KOREA BASED SOLELY ON HUMANITARIAN SITUATIONS.

///END ACTUALITY///

MR. BURNS SAYS THE UNITED STATES WILL CONSULT CLOSELY WITH SOUTH KOREA, ONCE A U-N APPEAL IS MADE. FOR ITS PART, SOUTH KOREA SAYS IT, TOO, WILL CONSIDER SENDING FOOD AID TO THE NORTH.

MR. BURNS SAYS THE UNITED STATES RELIES ON U-N ASSESSMENTS OF NORTH KOREA'S FOOD NEEDS AND NOTES THE UNITED STATES HAS BEEN A MAJOR CONTRIBUTOR OF SUCH AID:

///BURNS ACTUALITY///

I BELIEVE THE LEVEL OUR CONTRIBUTION WAS EIGHT-PONT-TWO MILLION DOLLARS IN 1995. TO THE PEOPLE AFFECTED BY THE FLOODING, AN ADDITIONAL ALLOCATION MADE BY THE UNITED STATES IN 1996.

///END ACTUALITY///

IN AN INTERVIEW LAST WEEK (C-N-N), THE NORTH KOREA'S U-N AMBASSADOR SAID A BRIEFING ON THE U-S / SOUTH KOREA PROPOSAL FOR KOREAN PEACE TALKS IS BEING DELAYED BY THE THE FOOD CRISIS. MR. BURNS SAYS WASHINGTON IS NOT USING THE PROMISE OF FOOD AID AS LEVERAGE TO GET PYONGYANG TO THE PEACE TABLE.

///REST OPTIONAL FOR LONG///

ANALYST CHARLES MORRISON OF THE HONOLULU-BASED EAST-WEST CENTER SAYS NORTH KOREA'S FOOD CRISIS IS CAUSED BY FLOODING, MISMANAGEMENT AND A CHRONIC FOREIGN CURRENCY SHORTAGE. MR. MORRISON SAYS IT APPEARS RATIONING IS WIDESPREAD AMONG NORTH KOREANS:

///MORRISON ACTUALITY///

THERE HAVE BEEN A NUMBER OF SUCH REPORTS AND IT'S HARD TO IMAGINE GIVEN THE STORIES ABOUT THE OVERALL FOOD SITUATION THERE THAT THE COUNTRY COULD GET BY WITHOUT SOME KIND OF RATIONING. ONE QUESTION WOULD BE HOW THE RATIONING AFFECTS THE MILITARY BECAUSE NORTH KOREAN STABILITY DEPENDS VERY-HEAVILY ON THE SUPPORT OF THE MILITARY.

///END ACTUALITY///

NORTH KOREA IS ALSO INVOLVED IN NEGOTIATIONS WITH A U-S COMPANY WHICH SPECIALIZES IN FOOD DISTRIBUTION FOR UP TO 500-THOUSAND TONS OF GRAIN. THOSE NEGOTIATIONS HAVE NOT YET CONCLUDED. (SIGNED).

NEB / WD

11-Feb-97 12:34 AM EST (0534 UTC)
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Source: Voice of America