Starved into Submission

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While North Korea’s leadership solicits the world’s nations for food aid, the despotic regime continues to deliberately starve its own people.

Reports of severe food shortages in North Korea constitute an almost annual occurrence. So, it probably came as little surprise when a myriad of world agencies stated earlier in the year that nearly 25% of North Korea’s 24 million citizens risked starvation.

To that end, the UN recommended in April 2011 that at least 475,000 tons of rice and cereal grains would be needed over the next six months to avert mass starvation. For their part, North Korean officials began frantically soliciting more nations for food than ever before, including African nations poorer than it.

However, unlike in years past, the world community mostly balked at the new food assistance appeal. The head of the UN Office of Coordination for Humanitarian Affairs said last week that it had collected only about 15 percent of the requested food.

Meanwhile, the US House of Representatives also voted last week to entirely bar any US food aid to North Korea. The denial of assistance brought cries of humanitarian neglect from some quarters, the most notable being from Jimmy Carter who called the US action a “human-rights violation.” Yet as Republican Representative Ed Royce said, “Let’s be clear, the aid we provide would prop up Kim Jong ll’s regime, a brutal and dangerous dictatorship.”

While that reason alone may have been enough to deny North Korea food aid, there was still an extended list of other justifications. Perhaps chief among these grounds was the growing belief that the North Korean government had actually manufactured its current food crisis.

According to a South Korean diplomat, a recent visit by a US assessment team to North Korea had concluded that “the North has no comprehensive food crisis.” Moreover, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization cited North Korea’s 2010 harvest to be among the best in two decades.

Of course, it isn’t unusual for North Korea to stockpile food and hoard it for government and military use.  As one Intelligence official noted, “Since 1987, North Korea has been setting aside 12 percent of its rice output as emergency supplies in case of war and 10 percent for military consumption.”

Now, however, some US and South Korean officials have shared suspicions that Pyongyang is inflating the severity of its food situation for another purpose. Specifically, they believe the North Koreans are stockpiling food for the commemoration in April 2012 of the 100th birthday of Kim ll Sung, North Korea’s first leader and father to its current leader, Kim Jong ll.

The speculation is that the North Korean government wants to mark that celebration with a series of special and enhanced public food distributions. Moreover, they feel that show of state prosperity will validate Kim Jong ll’s recent vow that by 2012 North Korea would be “a strong and prosperous nation.”

Yet, even if North Korea’s food shortage is indeed real, there exists no accurate or verifiable means by which to determine if the food ever reaches its proper destination. As an example, in 2008 the US and North Korea negotiated a food assistance agreement. However, the North Koreans voided that deal when it came time to implement it because they didn’t want to allow for the pact’s verification requirements.

While the North Korean government may strive to deceive the world on who actually receives any donated food, the deception hasn’t worked very well on its own people. In a recent survey of 500 North Korean defectors, nearly 80 percent said they never received any foreign grain aid when they lived in the North. In fact, over 97 percent believed the food aid went to either the military; party leaders; or government agencies.

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  • Greenwick

    It appears that while North Korea does have a severe ongoing problem with food and it's economy, (Wow, that's an understatement!) the current situation is only worse because of government management problems. The currency redenomination that happened in 2009 left poor anyone who didn't have good political connections, which has led to a much harsher food situation. Natural causes are playing no part in this.

  • Brad Arnold

    A new clean energy production technology is emerging using nickel in a LENR. The reason I am bring this up in a forum on North Korea is that this new energy production technology will enable North Korea to feed all it's people, run it's military, and grow it's economy. One gram of nickel equals about 1.7 billion calories. Partial formula: Ni+H (heated at pressure)=Cu + lots of heat.

    I know North Korean agents are going to read this. Americans are far behind the curve on this: energy generated cleanly at 1/5th the cost of any other method. This will give North Korea a new lease on life.

    • Shawn

      Brad, you're missing the entire crux of the North Korean regime – they don't want to feed their people. The propaganda from the gov't to its people is that their "shared" hardship is because of outside forces – usually American or their Korean cousins to the south. Also, if people are physically weak, they won't have the energy to protest or devise schemes to bring down their leaders.

      • jasonz

        exactly. the power of marxiam can only come from complete control over everything. you can only get that control by making the controlled dependant on the controller. Thats what we mean when we say nothing is free. there may not be a 'monatary charge' but the cost is loosing your free will. food or free will what would you choose. marxism is just the political justification for slavery

        • Fred Dawes

          sad to say our little rat is just that a BS Marxism monkey.

    • GaryP

      Fusion is real. It works, in fusion bombs–for light elements, i.e. H and He. For heavy elements (such as nickel), the "heat and pressure" you mention occurs only in supernovas. Read some basic science. This is a hoax.

  • Chezwick_mac


    • Fred Dawes

      right out of 1984

  • Ghostwriter

    Unbelievable! And yet unsurprising in places like North Korea.

  • Max

    Where do the scions of the torturers get their education? Answer: in New Zealand.
    New Zealand welcomes hundreds even thousands of the young torturers to learn English and get a university degree… No questions asked… As long as they bring money they are welcome in New Zealand…

    • Fred Dawes


  • g_jochnowitz

    Marxism means famine. Marxism has always meant famine. Chairman Mao created the most horrible famine in human history, during which 45 million people or more died. Read Frank Dikottor's recent book MAO'S GREAT FAMINE.

  • waterwillows

    North Korea will cease to be. Without a healthy, growing population the declining gene pools will be one of many deciding factors for this outcome.
    Weak people make weak decisions. A weak population is a sign of a weak government. They do not yet recoginise their fatal dilemma. And it will be too late when they do.

  • jasonz

    let them fight or die. America cannot go on proping up nations and govts that are failing, despise us, and activly seek to turn Us into them. We have fools in America as well who continue to think that marxiam not only works, but is the best way of life. Why? because we continually feel sorry for these idiots and support them. As bad as it is now, it is nothing compared to what would be happening if we actually used our heads and stopped being nice to our enemies. Understand. with modern food production there is ZERO reason for any people to starve. their suffering is by design and due to corrupt individuals, not lack of food. Therefore we can ship all our food over there and they would still starve. Capitialism has never had mass starvation,…,ever, America has never had mass starvation…ever. its because our system works and is proven time and time again to be the best. Stop all aid to these people and let them either adopt a systerm that works or let them die out and make room for a superior people.

  • Bernie Goetz

    A country that can afford to build nuclear weapons should not ask for or get food aid or any other aid.

  • UpChuckLiberals

    Perhaps our Dear Leader, Barack Hussain Obama can find some time in his busy schedule to go and straighten them out. Do they have any golf courses? Does he have to bring his own tele-prompters? Michelle would love the trip to go shopping.

    • hrayspitz

      Yes, they have golf courses. They even had an open recently. And, don't forget, "Dear Leader" (of PDRK) used to score regular "holes in one" on them.
      I think its great idea to send the Obama's to North Korea. If there was only a way to keep them from coming back…

  • Fred Dawes

    Yes our dear leader would love to see this evil here he could become president for life.

  • BS77

    Send Chef Chomsky over there ….he can prepare the people cuisine of bark and grass.

  • tanstaafl

    Marxism is always short of capital. Without capital, it is impossible to advance. That's what happened with the USSR.

  • djones

    No aid fo N.K. from the west. They are puppets of the Chinese in every way. We should be putting pressure on China to adress these problems and not giving them food which the Kim's will steal. However if China gives them food you can bet it will go to the people.

    • nkluver

      so naive. nk has said publicly to its people that its military comes first.