South Korean Activists Says North Korea has Received Food Aid from China

Posted January 31st, 2012 at 7:05 am (UTC-5)
Leave a comment

A South Korean human rights group says China apparently delivered large amounts of food aid to impoverished North Korea earlier this month.

Do Hee-yoon, a representative of the Seoul-based Citizens Coalition for the Human Rights of Abductees and North Korean Refugees, says China shipped rice, and possibly other aid to isolated regime for about 10 days before the Lunar New Year holiday.

Tuesday the group released photographs it says were taken by its members at customs stations in Tumen, on the Chinese side of the border. The photos, which Do says were taken on January 12th, show a convoy of 30-ton trucks stacked with rice waiting to enter North Korea.

Do tells VOA that such deliveries this time of year from China to North Korea are rare.

The Japanese newspaper Tokyo Shimbun reported Monday that Beijing has pledged to give North Korea 500,000 tons of food aid and 250,000 tons of crude oil. The newspaper says the decision was made in a meeting chaired by Chinese President Hu Jintao the day after Pyongyang announced that leader Kim Jong Il had died.

Do tells VOA that this month's shipment was a political gesture aimed at shoring up the relationship between China and North Korea, and as a show of support to Mr. Kim's youngest son and successor, Kim Jong Un.

North Korea has suffered from chronic food shortages since a famine in the 1990s believed to have killed hundreds of thousands of people. The United Nations and other international relief agencies say North Korea needs help feeding millions of its people. Malnutrition among young people has been rising despite better harvests in recent years.