Home>News Center>World

U.S. considering food aid for North Korea
Updated: 2005-05-21 09:43

The United States said on Friday it is considering whether to give North Korea food aid this year, dangling the possibility as it seeks to revive talks on ending North Korea's pursuit of nuclear weapons.

However, the State Department repeated its position that such aid is not tied to political factors like whether North Korea will resume six-party talks designed to persuade it to give up its nuclear weapons ambitions.

North Korean farmers work in rice fields in the North Korean city of Kaesong May 17, 2005. [Reuters]

"It's wrong to say that we've halted it. We completed last year's shipment of 50,000 tons and we're considering what we might want to do this year," State Department spokesman Richard Boucher told reporters.

He was commenting on a Wall Street Journal report that Washington had halted all food aid shipments to North Korea so far this year and may not provide any through the end of 2005.

Boucher said the United States weighed three factors in deciding whether to give the North Korea food -- its need, the ability of donors to monitor that food gets to those who need it, and the competing needs of other regions.

The United States has long criticized North Korea, which accuses Washington of harboring hostile designs against it, for not giving sufficient access to monitors.

Boucher said monitoring had improved in recent years, but there are still suspicions that North Korea may siphon off some of the aid for elite government or military officials.

Washington has until the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30 to use money from the current budget for such aid, Boucher said. In theory, it could use money from next year's budget to pay for aid in the October-December quarter.

  Today's Top News     Top World News

Export textile tariffs rocket to 400 per cent



Bush pledges probe into Saddam pictures



Mainland offers tourism good-will for Taiwan



44 remain missing in Hebei coal mine blast



Sacked soccer coach wins wide support



Old soldier does penance for past atrocities


  Bush pledges probe into Saddam pictures
  Italian hostage killed in Afghanistan
  Iraq, Iran blame Saddam for Kuwait invasion
  Anti-US anger in Afghanistan overshadows Karzai trip to Washington
  South Korea makes strides in human cloning
  Sumatra quake shook earth's total surface
  Go to Another Section  
  Story Tools  
  News Talk  
  Are the Republicans exploiting the memory of 9/11?