[KS] North Korea Food Aid Is Not a Political Tool, The New York Times Edi...

Afostercarter at aol.com Afostercarter at aol.com
Sun May 8 09:02:15 EDT 2011

For those who wish to read the debate in full, dozens of  articles
on this urgent topic from all viewpoints are helpfully  collected at
In case anyone is unaware of it, NCNK's  website is an extremely 
useful resource on DPRK-related matters of many  kinds.
Aidan  Foster-Carter 
Honorary Senior Research  Fellow in Sociology & Modern Korea, Leeds 
University, UK 
In a message dated 5/1/2011 13:23:56 GMT Daylight Time, aoverl at yahoo.co.uk  

Dear Dr. Yoo,
thanks a lot for posting this article! I agree with the point that  food 
aid should not be a political tool, but unfortunately it has  invariably been 
used (and abused) for diplomatic and strategic purposes.  In my personal 
opinion, one particularly negative aspect of this  practice was that a far 
stronger linkage was created between the  availability of aid and North Korea's 
proliferation/non-proliferation  performance than between aid and North 
Korea's economic reform  process. If one assumes that a relatively successful 
reform process  might reduce Pyongyang's aid dependency and thus make the  
leadership less interested in extorting aid through nuclear blackmail  and/or 
obtaining hard currency through arms exports  and criminal financial 
activities, a logical conclusion would be to  use aid to reward the DPRK if it 
implements reforms but  deny (or reduce) aid if it does not. Significantly, 
neither  China nor Vietnam had access to substantial aid from Western and  
Japanese sources before they started to introduce radical reforms.
Unfortunately, the political and military context of the  aid largely broke 
the potential links between aid and  reform. A few months after the July 
2002 reforms, U.S. aid ceased  because of the nuclear enrichment issue, and 
later Japan also reduced  its imports from the DPRK for the same reason. In 
2007-2008, North Korea  made some nuclear concessions, but at the same time 
introduced  "counter-reforms," and cracked down on private entrepreneurs. It 
seems  that the North Korean leaders do not really want to simultaneously  
implement reforms and make nuclear concessions. For understandable  reasons, 
South Korea and the U.S. attributes more importance to the  nuclear issue 
than to economic reforms, but if there are no effective  reforms, the 
periodical nuclear crises are more likely to recur than if  there are.   
Balazs Szalontai

--- On Sat, 30/4/11, Kwang On Yoo  <lovehankook at gmail.com> wrote:


I like to share this New York  times Opinion with KS.


Thank  You.

Kwang-On  Yoo

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