NK Bans SK Aid Workers; Food Supplies Dwindling
Some observers say the measure is aimed at pressuring the new South Korean government, which plans to review agreements reached at the inter-Korean summit in October last year. The Chosun Shinbo, a North Korean mouthpiece published by the General Association of Korean Residents in Japan or Chongryon, recently dismissed President Lee Myung-bak’s North Korea policy the so-called “denuclearization-opening-3,000” plan — as “unrealistic” and “lopsided.” The approach envisages denuclearization, followed by the opening of North Korea and assistance to increase its per capita income to US$3,000 within a decade.Some analysts have linked the request to intensive inspections of agencies overseeing businesses with South Korea, including the United Front Department of the Workers’ Party, which have been going on since the second half of last year.
In a somewhat-related article, the AP is reporting that North Korea will face its worst food shortage in years due to an unusually dry and mild winter. According to World Food Program estimates, North Korea will be short 1.4 million tons of food this year. The KCNA publically acknowledged the problem:
Temperatures rarely dropped below minus 5 degrees, Kim Mun Uk, an official at the North’s Hydro-Meterological Service told the official Korean Central News Agency.
There was also scant snow or rain in the capital, Pyongyang, or in western and eastern coastal regions between mid-December and Feb. 21, the report said.
“This abnormal climate phenomenon has seriously affected the growth of autumn wheat and barley,” KCNA reported.