News

US Suspends Food Assistance to North Korea

People work in a field outside of Kaesong, North Korea, April 17, 2011. North Korea's perennial food shortage reached a crisis point in 2011, aid workers say, because of torrential rains, the coldest winter in 60 years and rising food prices.
People work in a field outside of Kaesong, North Korea, April 17, 2011. North Korea's perennial food shortage reached a crisis point in 2011, aid workers say, because of torrential rains, the coldest winter in 60 years and rising food prices.
William Ide

The United States says it has suspended a food aid package to North Korea in response to Pyongyang's plans to carry out a missile launch next month. While the North says its plan to hurl the satellite into space is peaceful, the U.S. and other countries say the launch could help it further its ballistic missile technology.

Peter Lavoy, the acting assistant secretary of defense for Asia and Pacific security affairs, told a congressional hearing the U.S. is working together with allies in the region to try and discourage the North from going ahead with the launch because it would violate Pyongyang's international commitments. He says that failure of North Korea to follow through on what it has promised raises concerns about the nutritional assistance the U.S. has offered as well.

"We have been forced to suspend our activities to provide nutritional assistance to North Korea largely because we have now no confidence that the monitoring mechanisms to ensure that the food assistance goes to the starving people and not the regime elite," Lavoy said.

Late last month, North Korea announced it would temporarily suspend nuclear tests, long-range ballistic missile launches and other nuclear activities. In return, Washington, pledged to provide the North with 240,000 metric tons of nutritional assistance.

The aid package was expected to target the most needy in North Korea - including malnourished young children and pregnant women.

U.S. food aid to the North had been suspended since Pyongyang expelled U.S. food monitors in 2009 after U.S. officials voiced concerns about food distribution.

For now, Pyongyang is resisting calls to cancel the launch, and Lavoy says that violates last month's deal.

"When we recently reached this deal, this did prohibit North Korean missile launches, and we indicated at the time that a satellite missile launch we would interpret as a missile launch because it would use missile technology," Lavoy said,

In addition to the military applications of the launch, there are other concerns as well, Lavoy adds.

"The North Koreans have indicated that they will launch the missile in a southward direction. And I don't know if we have any confidence on the stability of the missile or where the actual impact will be. A number of countries are potentially affected. This could fall on, the debris could fall on their countries. It could cause casualties," Lavoy said.

The U.S. and South Korea say North Korea's two previous launches failed to put satellites into orbit, but Pyongyang insists it succeeded with its last launch in 2009.

Speaking through its state media on Wednesday, North Korea says the satellite launch is intended to estimate crop production and analyze the country's natural resources.

The official KCNA report also quotes an unnamed space program official as saying the North would show the peaceful nature of the satellite by inviting experts and journalists to witness its launch.

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments page of 2
    Next 
by: t
March 30, 2012 7:35 AM
We have starving children in this country we sure as he++ don't need to be sending food to any country like N. Korea or ANY Muslim country. We need to work with the UN and only put up 1/10 of whatever the UN wants to provide to ANY country, and only if it is monitored.

by: Dear Pudgy One
March 29, 2012 10:51 AM
Hey you usa you send food or we fire ding dong 2 rocket or maybe it fall over on launch pad and blow us up.

by: Ted
March 29, 2012 2:07 AM
It is a sin that the United States and other countries use food as a weapon. We will all rot in hell because of what our government does.

by: kissela
March 29, 2012 1:43 AM
I think that US, must not only suspend the food aid to North Korea, but give to NK an ultimate to cancel the launch and if they don't do that the US and other countries should invade, because NK is still make the missile test to intimidate not only the South Korea, but all the great powers...

by: hamad part 3 of 3
March 29, 2012 1:01 AM
poverty . Who have not cared about Americans rights themselves ,do you think they will care about others rights ? People start liberating themselves from fear which their bias media have been spreading over all those years. Let them live in fear too,if you want to live free .

by: chalie
March 28, 2012 11:06 PM
the act of Asian countries, the Arabworld, & Russia is to undermine us superiority in the global scale! I love USA which the master of the world. please suspend your assistance to such an extrimist nation of NorthKorea!

by: Mark Murata
March 28, 2012 10:54 PM
WE CAN BY NO MEANS ALLOW KIM JONG-UN TO CALL FOR BRINKSMANSHIP DIPLOMACY AND WE CAN NEVER COMPROMISE ON THE ABDUCTION ISSUE!!! BOW DOWN, NORTH KOREA!!! BOW DOWN!!!

by: Mr. Vaclav Pisko
March 28, 2012 5:58 PM
Obama's statement regarding the Russia-USA missile/nuclear control agreement was correctly interpreted by the Pyongyang regime as a green light for its missile test food shortage notwithstanding.The current resident of The White House is fully aware of the international situation(s),yet he chose to ignore all and selfishily devotes his time and efforts to his re-election only.

by: Kitten
March 28, 2012 5:40 PM
Why not North Korea can ballistic missile technology? It should be fair that every country should have equal opportunity to develop the same things as others.

by: Exenon
March 28, 2012 5:30 PM
Proping up this absurd and evil meanace to the world is an affront to all who are menaced by them. Have they the weapons that are not vintage, the oil to carry out conflict? No way only the threat os self immolation. Shoot their joke rocket out of the sky as soon as it leavesthe country. yiu have the means; enploy them.
Comments page of 2
    Next 

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardshipi
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
May 28, 2015 6:48 PM
Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Floodwaters Recede in Houston, but Rain Continues

Many parts of Texas are recovering from one of the worst natural disasters to hit the southwestern state. Heavy rains on Monday and early Tuesday caused rivers to swell in eastern and central Texas, washing away homes and killing at least 13 people. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, floodwaters are receding slowly in the country's fourth-largest city, and there likely is to be more rain in the coming days.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.

VOA Blogs