US to offer DPRK food aid. Seoul still waiting to be asked.

According to the Financial Times (h/t One Free Korea):

The US has agreed to give North Korea 500,000 tonnes of food aid under a new deal that would allow monitors unprecedented access to oversee distribution in the Stalinist state.

Washington will supply 400,000 tonnes via the United Nation’s World Food Programme, while US non-governmental organisations will distribute another 100,000 tonnes, according to people familiar with the agreement. One US official told the Financial Times that President George W. Bush would approve the deal “within days”.

In order to ensure the food reaches ordinary North Koreans, Pyongyang has agreed to extensive monitoring, including random inspections that several observers said were “unprecedented”. It would also allow “port to mouth” inspections to reduce concerns that food would be siphoned off for the elites that support Kim Jong-il, the North Korean leader.

Pyongyang will also allow more monitors into North Korea than under previous food programmes, and will allow them to visit a greater number of areas.

North Korea will receive an initial shipment of 50,000 tonnes in early June. Once Mr Bush formally approves the deal, US experts will meet counterparts from North Korea, the WFP and NGOs to decide what kind of food is needed.

…And contrary to its previous report on 5/11/08 that South Korea was preparing to donate a nearly USD$10 million aid package to the DPRK, despite never being formally asked for it, Yohnap today reports that Seoul is doing no such thing.  The trial balloon carrying the aid must have popped somewhere over the DMZ.

Read the full stories here:
US to send food to N Korea under new deal
Financial Times
Demetri Sevastopulo

Seoul set to approve 10 bln won in aid for N. Korea: official

Gov’t denies rice aid to be sent to N. Korea via int’l body
Shim Sun-ah


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