Global Politics

North Korea food crisis looming

Kim Yong Il explains how he and his family of five defected in 1996. He says because of the famine, his parents had no other choice but to flee. After a half decade of hiding in China, Kim and his family finally made it to South Korea. Aid groups are warning that a similar food shortage like the one that caused Kim and thousands of other North Koreans to escape may be happening again. This NGO expert says the same symptoms of the 1990s are occurring in North Korea again. That means come this summer there will be nothing to harvest. Due to severe floods in August and North Korea's nuclear test in 2006 which ended up scaring away donors, the food stocks have vanished; and the global food crisis is also taking its toll. China provides much of North Korea's needs but has reduced shipments, and South Korea has also stopped its food aid. The conservative South Korean government wants North Korea to formally ask for food aid something it never had to do during the previous governments. This UN official says the South Korean President wants to play politics with food. Washington meanwhile has offered to deliver 500 tons of rice to North Korea. The defector says the US and South Korea should not be sending mixed signals.

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