Korea: September 9, 2005

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North Korea says it wants to end UN food aid by the end of the year. The UN World Food Program (WFP) has provided 300,000 tons of food to North Korea this year, 90 percent of which has been delivered. South Korea has sent 500,000 tons. That keeps about a third of the population from starving to death (by providing about half a pound of grain or rice per day per person.) Harvests were better in the north this year, but the real reason for getting the WFP out is the hundred or so inspections UN personnel make each week to insure that the food goes to the people who need it. The South Korean food comes with far fewer inspections attached. China has also offered 150,000 tons of food a year, and South Korea has been generous with contributions of fertilizer. The north would rather starve than be scrutinized. 

North Korea has received some $2 billion in food aid over the last ten years. As a result, the government has not had to buy and import any food. Despite that savings, much of the food donated has been diverted to military use, or for sale in the black market. 

 

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