“At least since 2000 when we began providing assistance to the North, no one there has been starving to death.
““ UniFiction Minister Lee Jong-Seok, May 2, 2006
That was then. South Korea’s UniFiction Minister is now saying no more rice if the little man fires the big rocket. I strongly support feeding the people of North Korea — especially those to whom the government has denied food aid. They are also victims; they bear no responsibility for the actions of those who rule them. Because its unilateral food aid program is almost entirely unmonitored, experts have suggested that South Korean (and Chinese) food aid has exactly the opposite effect: Kim Jong Il can count on unmonitored aid to feed the military and the party elite; therefore, he can afford to reject aid from donors who insist that its distribution be monitored.
South Korea claims that its aid is distributed to those who need it, but, says Lee …
“I believe additional assistance (for the North) would be difficult, except ongoing projects like the Kaesong industrial complex, if the missile is launched,” Unification Minister Lee Jong-seok was quoted as telling the head of the main opposition Grand National Party.
If Lee really believes that his government’s aid is getting to the hungry people who need it, then he’s tacitly admitting that he’s prepared to use food as a weapon against the North Korean people, and at the same time, to drive on with the exploitive enrichment of the government that’s actually launching the missile. If, on the other hand, Lee thinks cutting off food aid will really deter the govenrment, he’s betraying some knowledge of who is really eating most of it.