US considers resuming food aid to North Korea

The US is considering resumption of food aid to North Korea amid fears people there could starve after a harsh winter, top officials said on Wednesday.

Updated: Mar 02, 2011, 10:42 AM IST

Washington: The US is considering
resumption of food aid to North Korea amid fears people there
could starve after a harsh winter, top officials said on Wednesday.

Special envoy Stephen Bosworth told the Senate
Committee on Foreign Relations that the US is assessing the
need for assistance after the reclusive Asian nation requested
it.
The US government suspended food handouts to the
impoverished North in 2009 after monitors were expelled, and a
resumption would be politically sensitive, because of concerns
it could be seen as a reward for bad behavior. In the past
year, Pyongyang has been accused of launching two unprovoked
military attacks on rival South Korea, and has revealed a
uranium enrichment program that could provide it a new means
of generating material for nuclear weapons.

The top US diplomat for East Asia, Kurt Campbell, told
lawmakers that no decision has yet been made resuming said,
and it would be taken in close coordination with South Korea.

Asked whether food aid could ultimately ease economic
pressure on the North, effectively allowing it put more
resources into its nuclear programs, Campbell said North Korea
had historically shown it was willing to allow "enormous
suffering" among its people, noting that many starved during
the 1990s.
"The choice here is whether these people are allowed
to starve. It`s a humanitarian issue not a political one," he
said.

PTI