North Korea has recently requested food aid from Mongolia, citing a food shortage the country may face, according to a Mongolian Internet news outlet on Monday.UPDATE: The report on InfoMongolia.com here.
The request was made by Hong Gyu, the North Korean ambassador to Mongolia, during his meeting on April 16 with the country's President Ts. Elbegdorj to present a letter of credence, according to an article by InfoMongolia.com
"At the conclusion, North Korean Ambassador to Ulan Bator Hong Gyu said North Korea may face a severe food shortage. Therefore, we ask Mongolia to seek possibilities of delivering food aid to North Korea," the article said.
Food assistance and other aid to the impoverished country from the outside world ground to a halt after the North conducted its third nuclear test on Feb. 12 in defiance of the international community's warnings.
The Wall Street Journal carries forward with this report here:
At a courtesy call on the Mongolian president last week, Pyongyang’s new ambassador made a request for food aid, according to the official website for the head of state.
“North Korea may face (a) severe food shortage,” Ambassador Hong Gyu told President Elbegdorj, according to the account. Mr. Hong then asked for Mongolia to consider the possibility of delivering food aid to North Korea, the account said.
North Korea’s toughest part of the year for food begins in April and runs through September, when the annual corn harvest begins. Kwon Tae-jin, a scholar on North Korean agriculture in Seoul said that last year’s yield was moderate, but not sufficient to tide the country over.
“We’ve learned that while rations are being delivered, it varies region by region,” said Dr. Kwon, a director at the Korea Rural Economic Institute in Seoul. “But it isn’t sufficient to go around for everyone.”
There are other signs of food shortages. Daily NK, a news website staffed by North Korean defectors, reported last week that Pyongyang did not distribute food to the northernmost province for the biggest holiday of the year; the April 15 anniversary of the birthday of North Korean founder Kim Il Sung.
Mongolia, the "bread basket of third world dictatorships?"
UK's Mirror has video and photographs of the DPRK mess here. If you missed it, there was an "undercover" visit by a BBC journalist into North Korea on the show "Panorama" - you can see a part of it here. You should note that there are people unhappy with the means used to insert the reporter, as set out here.
Nice discussion from opinion people at The Wall Street Opinion Journal of the current U.S. approach to the NORKs:
UPDATE: 23 April 13: U.S.does not eliminate possibility of giving food aid to the North Koreans. So that the expression "biting the hands that feeds you" can be used in the future, I suppose. Humanitarian aid to this regime?
A U.S. special envoy on North Korea said Monday that North Korea's food plight is "fairly difficult" and that Washington is keeping the door open for food aid.I think that is a bad approach. It just rewards bad behavior and misgovernment by the dictatorship.
Robert King, the U.S. special envoy for North Korean human rights issues, affirmed that the U.S. draws a line between food assistance and politics.
"If there were a request for assistance, it's something I'm sure that we would look at," he said during a roundtable meeting with reporters at the State Department. "We try to keep our humanitarian assistance separate from political considerations."