WHAT: Food Crisis and Famine
WHERE: North Korea
WHEN: Winter, 1995-Now
This topic focuses on the severe food crisis lasting four years in North Korea. The stories on-topic range from the reports of famine situation and international helps to political conflicts involved in this crisis, such as "peace talks" between South and North Koreas and "missile talks" between U.S. and North Korea. While some themes, for instance, flood damage, food shortage and the collapse of health system in North Korea, are obviously linked to this topic, others are not marked clearly-especailly when "food aid" plays the role of a weapon in political conflicts in this crisis. In this respect, the stories, which mention the connection or relationship between famine, food aid and politics, should be on topic. Some examples of this kind are: South Korea delayed food donation due to the submarine incident in June, 1998; North Korea accepted nuclear inspection from U.S. after gaining promise of food aid this May.
Background & Summary
Two successive years of floods in 1995 and 1996, followed by a typhoon and a drought in 1997 destroyed much of the country's crops and left hundreds of thousands of people homeless. North Korea is struck by a severe famine in its history.
The United Nations launched its appeals for North Korea in the past four years, including millions of food aid and support to health services to prevent widespread malnutrition and disease among children. U.S., North Korea, China, Japan , Australia and other countries afforded extensive helps.
Meanwhile, because of the different political stances between North Korea and other countries, food aid was also employed as a weapon in political conflicts. In this process, food aid was intertwined with the hard peace talks between North and South Koreas, the diplomatic relationship between North Korea and Japan, nuclear inspections tension between North Korea and U.S..
Until today, North Korea food shortage has not been solved yet. The
latest drought in this June attacked North Korea and destroyed the hope
of recovery in a short time.
12/18/95- North Korea asked for the international help for the first time due to the flood damage in August. Flooding last August destroyed about 40 percent of North Korea's farmland, leaving a reported half million people homeless.
01/24/96- Japan rejected a request from North Korea for more food aid.
White House press secretary Mike McCurry said discussions with representatives
of Korea and Japan were set around January 27 in Hawaii to assess the food
crisis and North Korea's recent military buildup near an already heavily
05/14/96- U.N. food agencies issued a new special alert warning that North Korea's food stocks have sharply deteriorated, and the risk of famine is looming.
05/20/96- A ship carrying more then 6,000 tons of rice for flood victims in North Korea has sunk in stormy weather in the Taiwan Strait.
06/07 & 06/11/96- On June 7, U.S. planed to provide $6 million food
aid to North Korea in response to an appeal by the United Nations for $43
million in emergency assistance.
On June 11, Japan donated $6 million and South Korea pledged $ 3 million food aid.
08/06/96- Floods in July and August devastated North Korean food supplies for second year, which destroyed 20 percent of the harvest according to the reports of aid officials.
10/05/96- Jerry Talbot of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies returned from a mission to gauge the scope of the problem and assess relief work. He said, the food shortage in North Korea got worse and prolonged shortages weaken the resistance to disease which could stunt the growth of children. MEanwhile, the next months were going to be the most difficult with winter coming.
01/07/97- Just one day after North Korea apologized for its submarine incursion into South Korean waters, the U.S. government granted a Minneapolis grain compaany permission to sell food to the famine-struck communist country.
02/20/1997- The United States announced $10 million in new food aid to North Korea.
03/18/97- United Nations representatives completed a three-day visit to North Korea. Film footage taken during the trip shows large numbers of clearly malnourished children, their growth stunted by lack of food.
The U.N.'s World Food Program decided to double the amount of emergency food assistance it was providing to fight hunger in North Korea. Its goal is to collect $40 million in food aid before summer, when the country may run completely out of food.
03/27/97- North Korea linked food aid to peace talks with South Korea. It said it would join formal peace talks with South Korea to end its technical state of war with South Korea, but only if it receives guarantees of food aid first.
04/21/97- After scheduled meetings in New york, the peace talks between South and North Koreas collapsed. North Koreans insisted they could not accept the proposal for peace talks without accompanying guarantees of badly needed food aid.
12. 05/13/97- Red Cross officials from the two Koreas met to discuss ways to deliver emergency food aid to the North.
12/09/97- With the United States and CHina as mediators, the formal peace talks between North and South Koreas began in Geneva. More international food aid was one of the core issues on the North Korea's agenda.
12/23/97- Red Cross officials from North and South Korea proceeded the
4th talks in the Chinese capital, Beijing, on further food aid for the
North which is facing famine.
South Korea has already given one hundred thousand tons of food to the North this year, while the United Nations and other organizations have provided a total of nearly one million tons to help make up the
shortfall in North Korea's harvest.
01/98- The World Food Program announced in London it was about to launch
the biggest emergency operation in its history to avert famine in North
Korea and has appealed to the international community for more aid.
The UN agency warned that food stocks in North Korea could run out as early as April, and said that three-hundred-and-eighty-million dollars of food aid was required to meet the shortages -- twice the amount sent to North Korea last year.
03/27/98- Red Cross officials from North and South Korea have signed an agreement on monitoring food aid in Beijing, opening the way for the delivery of fifty thousand tons of food aid to North Korea.
04/25/98- People from 35 countries took part in a day of fasting to support North Koreans suffering from famine. Organizers are calling on people to give up at least one meal and donate the money they would have spent to appeals to buy food for North Korea.
06/27/98- The South Korean government delayed a delivery of cattle to North Korea following the dispute over a North Korean submarine caught in their waters.
07/09/98- Drought, tidal waves and cold weather again limited crop production in famine-stricken North Korea.
08/19/98- A research team from the United States Congress has estimated that at least three hundred thousand people have died from famine in North Korea in each of the past three years.
09/01/98- The assumption that North Korea launched a missile test had provoked criticism of North Korea by Japan and the United States. Japan says it stopped food aid to North Korea following its launch of a medium-range missile.
09/21/98- North Korea's news agency (KCNA) has accused the South Korean
authorities of trying to damage unofficial co-operation between the two countries by poisoning donated cattle.
10/12/98- A top official of the United Nations food agency accused North Korea of denying aid workers access to dozens of areas.
11/98- A United States Congressman, Tony Hall -- speaking after his fourth visit to North Korea -- called the situation very critical. Some people have to rely on leaves and twigs to stay alive.
02/99- Intelligence agents in South Korea say that the population of North Korea has declined by three million people since 1995 due to famine.
03/99- The official news agency in North Korea is reported to have said the country faces another year of acute food shortages despite massive international aid.
04/24/ 99- The United Nations World Food Program had appealed for two hundred and sixty million dollars for more food aid for North Korea.
05/17/99- Australia has announced that it will provide almost three
million dollars for immediate food aid to North Korea.
The United States has announced that it is to provide an additional four-hundred-thousand tons of food aid to North Korea.
06/29/99- North Korea says that record temperatures and drought have affected almost all parts of the country in the past month, causing damage to rice and maize crops. North Korea faces new drought.
07/13/99- Japan says it may suspend aid to North Korea if it goes ahead with plans to test launch another ballistic missile.
North Korea, food aid, famine,