News

 

DATE=  10/6/97

TYPE=BACKGROUND REPORT

NUMBER=5-37714 

TITLE=NORTH KOREA / FOOD & POLITICS

BYLINE=STEPHANIE MANN

DATELINE=WASHINGTON

CONTENT=

VOICED AT: 



INTRO:   WHENEVER THE PROBLEM OF NORTH KOREA'S FOOD SHORTAGE IS 

EXAMINED, THE ISSUE OF DISTRIBUTION COMES UP.  HOW CAN DONOR 

COUNTRIES BE SURE THE MOST NEEDY PEOPLE ACTUALLY RECEIVE THE FOOD

AID?  IS IT WRONG IF SOME OF THE FOOD IS DIVERTED FOR CONSUMPTION

BY THE MILITARY?  FOOD AID TO NORTH KOREA WAS AMONG THE TOPICS 

DISCUSSED AT A RECENT (9/30) CONFERENCE IN WASHINGTON, AS 

STEPHANIE MANN REPORTS.  



TEXT:   ROBERT GALLUCCI IS A FORMER DIPLOMAT WHO LED THE U-S 

NEGOTIATIONS WITH NORTH KOREA THAT RESULTED IN THE 1994 NUCLEAR 

AGREEMENT.  AMBASSADOR GALLUCCI, WHO IS NOW DEAN OF THE SCHOOL OF

FOREIGN SERVICE AT WASHINGTON'S GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY, SAYS IT IS

NOT  REALISTIC TO EXPECT THAT ALL THE FOOD AID WILL GO TO 

STARVING CHILDREN.  AND HE URGES DONOR GOVERNMENTS NOT TO MAKE 

THE DISTRIBUTION ISSUE INTO A PROBLEM.



                       // GALLUCCI ACT // 



         I DON'T KNOW THAT WE CAN HAVE HIGH CONFIDENCE THAT FOOD 

         DELIVERIES ARE ALWAYS GOING TO GO JUST WHERE THEY OUGHT 

         TO GO IN HUMANITARIAN TERMS.  I THINK WE SHOULD MAKE 

         EVERY EFFORT TO MAKE SURE THAT HAPPENS, BUT WE SHOULD 

         ASSUME THAT FOOD IS FUNGIBLE, LIKE MONEY, IN THAT PEOPLE

         WHO CARRY WEAPONS IN A CONTINGENCY, IN A CONFLICT, WILL 

         BE BETTER FED AS A RESULT OF US ATTEMPTING TO FEED 

         STARVING CHILDREN.  I WOULD BE WILLING TO STIPULATE THAT

         AND NOT FIGHT THAT FIGHT. // OPT // I WOULD DO 

         EVERYTHING I CAN TO ASSURE THAT THE DISTRIBUTION WAS FOR

         HUMANITARIAN PURPOSES, BUT I THINK I WOULD BE REALISTIC 

         AND RECOGNIZE THAT YOU COULDN'T AVOID SOME IMPACT THAT 

         WOULD BE USEFUL FROM A MILITARY PERSPECTIVE.  THAT WOULD

         JUST COME WITH THE TERRITORY. // END OPT //



                          // END ACT //



ANOTHER SPEAKER AT THE WASHINGTON CONFERENCE, LEON SIGAL, 

BELIEVES THE FOOD AID MONITORING ISSUE IS MOSTLY IRRELEVANT.  MR.

SIGAL, WHO HAS JUST WRITTEN A BOOK ABOUT DIPLOMACY WITH NORTH 

KOREA, SAYS THE LAST PEOPLE WHOM ANYONE IN THE WORLD WOULD WANT 

TO STARVE IS THE POWERFUL NORTH KOREAN MILITARY. 



LEON SIGAL AND AMBASSADOR GALLUCCI AGREE THAT FOOD AID SHOULD 

CONTINUE.  THEY CRITICIZE THOSE WHO SAY FOOD AID MERELY PROPS UP 

AN UNFRIENDLY REGIME.  MR. GALLUCCI CALLS IT POLITICALLY 

IMPRUDENT AND MORALLY REPUGNANT TO USE 'THE HUMAN MISERY' OF THE 

NORTH AS LEVERAGE IN THE CURRENT NEGOTIATIONS AIMED AT BRINGING A

LASTING PEACE TO THE KOREAN PENINSULA.  THE LATEST ROUND OF 

TALKS, LAST MONTH IN NEW YORK, STALLED PARTLY OVER PYONGYANG'S 

REQUEST FOR MORE DONATIONS OF FOOD. 



LEON SIGAL SAYS FOOD AID IS ONE WAY FOR THE UNITED STATES AND 

SOUTH KOREA TO CONVINCE THE NORTH THAT NEGOTIATIONS SHOULD BE A 

COOPERATIVE EFFORT. 



                       // SIGAL ACT #1 //



         THAT MEANS FOOD IS NOT SOMETHING THAT IS SIMPLY A LEVER.

         THAT'S A FOOLISH UNDERSTANDING OF FOOD.  FOOD IS A 

         SIGNAL TO THE NORTH THAT YOU DO NOT INTEND TO STARVE 

         THEM TO DEATH.  IF THEY COLLAPSE, THAT'S THEIR PROBLEM. 

         BUT YOU DON'T INTEND TO STARVE THEM TO DEATH.



                         // END ACT // 



ROBERT MANNING, WITH THE COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS, IMPLIES 

THAT BOTH SIDES HAVE BEEN USING FOOD AS A POLITICAL TOOL.  HE 

SAYS NORTH KOREA HAS BEEN PLAYING WHAT HE CALLS THE "FOOD FOR 

MEETINGS CARD" -- AGREEING TO ATTEND NEGOTIATING SESSIONS ONLY 

AFTER MORE FOOD AID HAS BEEN PLEDGED. 



IN ADDITION, MR. MANNING SAYS NORTH KOREA IS PREPARING TO DEPLOY 

LONG-RANGE MISSILES THAT COULD TARGET SOUTH KOREA, JAPAN OR U-S 

TERRITORY.  NORTH KOREA'S ACTIONS, HE SAYS, MAY HAVE PROMPTED 

SOME POLICY-MAKERS IN SEOUL AND WASHINGTON TO CONSIDER SENDING 

FOOD AID IN HOPES OF AVERTING CONFLICT. 



                       // REST OPTIONAL //



                        // MANNING ACT // 



         SO, THEY'VE MADE A CONSCIOUS CHOICE, WHILE PEOPLE ARE 

         STARVING, TO CONTINUE THEIR MILITARY PREPARATIONS.  THE 

         MORALITY, I THINK, IS A LITTLE MORE COMPLEX THAN IT 

         USUALLY GETS PORTRAYED. ... WE HAVE BASICALLY A POSTURE 

         FROM NORTH KOREA THAT I CALL 'FEED ME OR I'LL KILL YOU.'



                          // END ACT //



AND MR. MANNING SAYS THAT SHOWS THE NORTH KOREAN GOVERNMENT CARES

ONLY ABOUT ITS OWN SURVIVAL AND NOT WHETHER ITS PEOPLE STARVE.  

HE DOES NOT BELIEVE THERE'S ANY LINK BETWEEN THE FOOD PROBLEM AND

THE STABILITY OF THE NORTH KOREAN GOVERNMENT, SAYING PYONGYANG 

WILL NOT START A WAR BECAUSE PEOPLE ARE STARVING.  LEON SIGAL 

DISAGREES.  



                       // SIGAL ACT #2 //



         THE NORTH KOREAN GOVERNMENT HAS SHOWN ME THAT THEY CARE 

         ABOUT THE PLIGHT OF THEIR PEOPLE, BECAUSE THIS IS A 

         GOVERMENT THAT DOES NOT ADMIT TO FAILINGS VERY EASILY.  

         AND THAT THEY HAVE MADE A PUBLIC APPEAL FOR FOOD, I 

         THINK SUGGESTS THAT AT LEAST THEY WERE WILLING TO PAY 

         THAT PRICE IN THEIR MINDS FOR SECURING FOOD FOR THEIR 

         PEOPLE.



                          // END ACT //



AND MR. SIGAL SAYS THE MAJOR DONOR GOVERNMENTS HAVE ALL COME TO 

UNDERSTAND THAT, FROM A SECURITY STANDPOINT, IT IS  NOT  

REASONABLE TO WITHHOLD FOOD FROM NORTH KOREA IN HOPES OF BRINGING

DOWN THE REGIME.  (SIGNED)



NEB/SMN/RRM























06-Oct-97 1:41 PM EDT (1741 UTC)

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Source: Voice of America

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