According to the reports from the U.S. NGOs and the United Nations agencies in February and March, an estimated 6.1 million North Koreans face critical food shortage, recommending 475,000 tons of food aid to be provided.
The U.S., the largest food donor and yet who suspended its food shipment to North Korea in 2009 after its monitors were expelled by the North Korean government, sent out its five-member delegation this week. Their reports after this week are likely to add to pressure the governments to urge to resume their food aid to the impoverished, hunger stricken communist country.
Some influential individuals such as former President Jimmy Carter recently accused the U.S. and South Korea of a human rights violation for deliberately withholding food aid to North Korea.
While we are well aware of such criticisms, South Korean government announced the suspension of its food aid after the deadly attacks from the North last year. However, the National Council of Churches in Korea (NCCK) sent 172 tons of flour, worth $87,000, to the North Korean Christian Federation on May 18, through the Amity Foundation in Nanjing, China.
Many South Koreans are furious with the NCCK’s violation of the law even as Free North Korea Radio, run by North Korean defectors, commented that the food sent secretly to North Koreans is not rice but poison.
Although there is no objection to the common perception that food aids are apolitical and purely humanitarian, the ruthless regime has failed to be proven worthy to receive aids from the international society.
While the easy answer to the heartrending stories of North Korean's plights may be unconditional food aids, there are more significant factors, complex and indispensable for the ultimate well-being of the North Koreans in the long run, to be considered.
Click on the slideshow to see the 10 valid reasons why one must be cautious of considering the bilateral food aids:
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