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International community cuts humanitarian aid to North Korea

International community cuts humanitarian aid to North Korea

Posted October. 24, 2017 08:03,   

Updated October. 24, 2017 08:08


The amount of international humanitarian aid to North Korea has dramatically dropped at a time when the Moon Jae-in administration is mulling over the right time to send humanitarian aid to the impoverished nation after approving an 8-million-dollar assistance plan for the North. With the North's continuing provocations, Western superpowers, including the United States, which have led humanitarian support for the North, have closed their purses. If this trend continues, North Korea will likely achieve less than 30 percent of its humanitarian funding needs for this year.

According to the Dong-A Ilbo's analysis of "Financial Tracking Service (fts.unocha.org)" managed by United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, North Korea called for 113.5 million U.S. dollars (approx. 128.3 billion won) in humanitarian assistance this year, but so far it has received only 33.9 million dollars (approx. 38.3 billion won), a mere 29.9 percent of its target.

Considering that other recipient countries have met an average of 47.4 percent of their humanitarian funding needs this year, the international community is obviously giving North Korea the cold shoulder. In particular, the United States, which has contributed 3.28 billion dollars (approx. 3.70 trillion won) in global humanitarian funds this year, used only 0.03 percent of it, 1 million dollars (approx. 1.13 billion won), for North Korea. The European Union has sent no humanitarian aid for North Korea this year, and its Foreign Affairs Council adopted tough measures against the North on last Monday, banning investment in North Korea and the sale of refined petroleum products and crude oil to the North. Against this backdrop, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is losing one of his major sources of revenue at a time when the pressure on North Korea from the international community is at an all-time high.

In 2012, less than a year after Kim Jong Un seized power, 103.9 million dollars in humanitarian aid was sent to the North in the hope of some changes. But once it became clear that Kim was not willing to give up his nuclear ambition, humanitarian aid to the North plummeted to 23.4 million dollars in 2015 and 37.9 million dollars in 2016, and a negative growth rate is expected for this year.

But the situation will change if the Moon administration decides to send the 8-million-dollar humanitarian aid to the North within this year. Then the North will collect 419 billion dollars at a minimum, the largest humanitarian support it will receive over the past three years. It will also mean the North will meet 36.9 percent of its humanitarian funding needs this year.

In-Chan Hwang hic@donga.com