News


DATE=4/14/98
TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
NUMBER=2-229655
TITLE=NORTH KOREA / DEATHS (L)
BYLINE=MAXIM KNIAZKOV
DATELINE=WASHINGTON
CONTENT=
VOICED AT: 

INTRO: A SOUTH KOREAN RELIGIOUS GROUP SAYS AT LEAST THREE MILLION
PEOPLE HAVE DIED IN NORTH KOREA SINCE 1995 BECAUSE OF FAMINE.  
"THE KOREAN BUDDHIST SHARING MOVEMENT" IS BASING IT'S ESTIMATES 
ON WITNESS ACCOUNTS OF ALMOST 500 NORTH KOREAN REFUGEES IN CHINA.
V-O-A'S MAXIM KNIAZKOV HAS DETAILS. 

TEXT: IT TOOK THE MOVEMENT'S EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, BUDDHIST MONK 
POMNYUN, SEVERAL MONTHS TO COMPLETE THE SURVEY.  NORTH KOREANS, 
WHO HAVE MADE IT TO CHINA, TOLD HIM HEART-RENDING STORIES OF 
STARVATION AND DEATH THAT HAVE TAKEN PLACE IN THEIR COUNTRY. 

IN WASHINGTON TUESDAY, POMNYUN, SPEAKING THRU AN INTERPRETER,  
SAID IF INTERNATIONAL FOOD DELIVERIES ARE NOT IMMEDIATELY 
INCREASED, THE ESTIMATED THREE MILLION DEAD IN NORTH KOREA MAY BE
JUST THE BEGINNING. 

            // ACT POMNYUN IN KOREAN & INTERPRETER // 

         THEY ARE DYING EVEN AT THIS MOMENT.  IF WE JUST ABANDON 
         HERE, PERHAPS THE SAME NUMBER OF PEOPLE WILL DIE AGAIN 
         THIS YEAR. 

                          // END ACT // 

NEITHER NORTH KOREA NOR "THE WORLD FOOD PROGRAM," WHICH OVERSEES 
RELIEF EFFORTS, HAVE EVER ISSUED AN ESTIMATED DEATH TOLL FROM THE
FAMINE.  

THE KOREAN BUDDHIST SHARING MOVEMENT TRIED TO FILL THE GAP.  IT 
ARRIVED AT THE THREE MILLION FIGURE BY PROJECTING THE SITUATION 
IN SPECIFIC FAMILIES, VILLAGES AND TOWNS ONTO THE NATIONAL SCALE.
ANALYZING INTERVIEWS WITH WITNESSES, IT HAS CONCLUDED THE FAMINE 
PRIMARILY AFFECTS URBAN AREAS OUTSIDE PYONGYANG, THE CAPITAL, AND
IS LESS SEVERE IN THE COUNTRYSIDE.   

THE MOVEMENT PLACED 13 MILLION NORTH KOREANS, WHO DON'T BELONG TO
THE COMMUNIST PARTY ESTABLISHMENT, IN THE MAIN RISK GROUP.  

THE VICE PRESIDENT OF THE CHARITY, "WORLD VISION," ANDREW 
NATSIOS, BELIEVES THIS METHOD OF ASSESSING THE NORTH KOREAN FOOD 
SITUATION MAY BE THE MOST ACCURATE OF ALL. 

                   // ACT TWO NATSIOS // 

         YOU CAN'T FIND OUT WHAT IS GOING ON IN NORTH KOREA BY 
         BEING IN NORTH KOREA.  YOU MUST GO UP TO THE CHINESE 
         BORDER BECAUSE YOU ARE DEALING WITH A POLITICAL SYSTEM 
         THAT DOES  NOT  EASILY LEND ITSELF TO OBSERVATION BY 
         OUTSIDERS

                        // END ACT // 

THE BUDDHIST MOVEMENT SAYS CHILDREN AND THE ELDERLY BEAR THE 
BRUNT OF THE DISASTER.  IT SAYS 45 PERCENT OF YOUNGSTERS UNDER 
AGE SIX, WHO SUFFER FROM LACK OF FOOD, EVENTUALLY DIE.  THIS RATE
REACHES UP TO 70 PERCENT AMONG THOSE OVER 60. 

MONK POMNYUN CALLED THE SITUATION A CATASTROPHE AND URGED THE 
UNITED STATES TO RECONSIDER ITS ECONOMIC RELATIONS WITH NORTH 
KOREA. 

                   // ACT THREE POMNYUN // 

         WE WOULD LIKE TO APPEAL TO THE U-S ADMINISTRATION TO 
         LIFT THE U-S ECONOMIC EMBARGO THAT MAY KILL MANY 
         POWERLESS AND INNOCENT CIVILIANS. 

                         // END ACT // 

THE UNITED STATES HAS PLEDGED 200-THOUSAND METRIC TONS OF FOOD TO
NORTH KOREA AS PART OF INTERNATIONAL RELIEF FOR THE COMMUNIST 
NATION.  IT ALSO TAKES PART IN FOUR-PARTY TALKS AIMED AT SIGNING 
A FORMAL PEACE TREATY TO REPLACE A 1953 ARMISTICE THAT HALTED THE
KOREAN WAR.  BUT THERE HAVE BEEN  NO  INDICATIONS OF IMMINENT 
NORMALIZATION OF THE TWO COUNTRY'S ECONOMIC TIES.  (SIGNED)  

NEB/MAX/PLM  

14-Apr-98 7:13 PM EDT (2313 UTC)
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Source: Voice of America
.