|THE NORTH KOREAN |
August 26, 1997
in this forum:
How widespread is the famine? What causes the indifference in South Korea? How likely is another war? Shouldn't we defer to South Korea on questions of aid? How do I help? Wouldn't a free market economy end the famine? How accurate are food estimates in North Korea? How much has China helped its ally? What is being done to prevent future famines? Additional Comments...
August 5, 1997:
The NewsHour reports on new talks between North and South Korea brought about by widespread famine in the North.
June 11, 1997:
Margaret Warner discusses the state of North Korea with World Vision Vice President Andrew Natsios.
April 8, 1997:
Two Senators report on the state of the food crisis in North Korea after returning from the region.
February 11, 1997:
The former U.S. ambassador to South Korea discusses the recent labor unrest there and the famine in North Korea.
December 31, 1996
Charles Krause leads a discussion with two experts on recent tensions between North and South Korea.
November 29, 1996
Rep. Bill Richardson (D-NM) brought home an American man who was being held in North Korea.
May 21, 1996
Facing the real possibility of famine, North Korea's government has allowed United Nations relief officials into what are normally closed borders.
A question from Jim Prescott of San Bruno, CA:
I am a teacher and was recently in Seoul to check out a teaching position at the Pagoda Institute. I made many friends while there and am puzzled by many in the South who are totally indifferent to the North. "They made their bed now they can sleep in it." With so much prosperity in Seoul, which is so close to the North, is this a real temptation for the North to attack and take what they want?
Andrew Natsios of World Vision responds:
While relief organizations know what causes famines and how to predict and prevent them, their profoundly destabilizing political consequences are much less predictable and can be very dangerous to regional security in any region of the world, but particularly in an unstable region like the Korean peninsula. For those that would argue we should deny, or provide only token famine aid to North Korea, I would warn that this is an unwise and imprudent policy with a potentially explosive result.
It is difficult to say with any reasonable certainty what options the government of North Korea might pursue if this food crisis persists, but feeding the hungry people of North Korea represents a humane and sensible way for the U.S. and other donor countries to ensure the stability of the region and respond to a profound moral imperative and protect the lives of our 37 thousand American troops on the DMZ.
Ted Yamamori of Food for the Hungry responds:
My experience has been that the South Korean government is encouraging its people and organizations to respond to the needs of the famine victims of the North. Food for the Hungry has an office in Seoul which is helping provide relief supplies. Many South Koreans have relatives in the North so they are passionately interested in the news that comes out of there. The South Korean government has its own position, but in the past two years its stance seems to have softened cautiously towards North Korea. The progression of the four party talks involving the two Koreas, the United States, and China will be very important to future relations among the respective countries.