US resumes food aid to DPRK

North Korea acknowledges US aid in domestic media.  From the Choson Ilbo:

North Korea on Saturday said through its official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), “The food aid of the U.S. government will help settle the food shortage in (North Korea) to a certain extent and contribute to promoting the understanding and confidence between the peoples of the two countries.” This announcement came 12 hours after the U.S. offer of 500,000 tons of food aid to the Stalinist country.

On Sunday, North Korea also reported on the U.S. offer of food aid through North Korea’s state-run Korean Central Broadcasting Station, a broadcaster designed for domestic audience, and Radio Pyongyang, a broadcaster designed for overseas audience.

Full story here:
Pyongyang Reacts Promptly to U.S. Food Aid Offer
Choson Ilbo

The USAID press release is below.  USAID is supplying 500,000 metric tons of aid to North Korea.  This comes in at 12.5% of the approximately 4 million tons needed to support the population per year (according to Noland, Haggard, Weeks).

Supposedly USAID and the DPRK have reached an agreement on monitoring the distribution of aid – to make sure it gets to where it is needed most.  The specifics of this deal have not been made public as far as I am aware (if any readers know the procedures, please pass them along). 

USAID press release:
Resumption of U.S. Food Assistance to the North Korean People
May 16, 2008
Press Office: 202-712-4320
Public Information: 202-712-4810

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The United States and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) have reached an understanding on the parameters of a program for the resumption of U.S. food assistance for the North Korean people. International organizations and experts have expressed concern about a severe food shortage in North Korea, and the DPRK has explained to the United States that it faces a major shortfall in food supplies. In response, the United States has pledged significant assistance. The two sides have agreed on terms for a substantial improvement in monitoring and access in order to allow for confirmation of receipt by the intended recipients.

The United States intends to provide the DPRK with 500,000 metric tons in food commodities over the course of a 12-month program beginning in June 2008, with the World Food Program (WFP) to distribute approximately 400,000 tons and U.S. NGOs approximately 100,000 tons. The United States and the DPRK have agreed on a framework to allow WFP and NGO staff broad geographic access to populations in need and the ability to effectively monitor the distribution of U.S. commodities. The food aid will come from the Bill Emerson Humanitarian Trust. The exact commodity mix and delivery schedules will be based on the outcome of a joint needs assessment to be conducted in coming weeks.

An experts’ meeting will be convened in Pyongyang in the near future to work out operational matters and commence detailed implementation of the program. Premised on a successful outcome of those discussions, the United States will deliver a first shipment in June, in light of the urgency of North Korea’s food shortfall. This program has developed through close coordination and extensive consultation with experts in the South Korean government.


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