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Ruling Party and Opposition Party Discuss Food Aid to North Korea

Ruling Party and Opposition Party Discuss Food Aid to North Korea

Posted September. 21, 2001 08:33,   


A formal discussion on supplying rice to North Korea is expected to begin after the Grand National Party proposed the plan for aid to the administration and the ruling party voiced their agreement.

On the 20th, Grand National Party policy committee chairman Kim Man-Jae proposed to the administration that the government make a long term loan of 2, 000, 000 bags of rice in stock to alleviate North Korea`s food shortage.

At a press conference, Mr. Kim stated, ``We have had an abundant rice harvest and experienced a decrease in consumption. There is a surplus of 3000 to 4000 thousand bags of rice than the normal amount of stored rice (5500 thousand bags – 6000 thousand bags). We urge the administration to take 2000 thousand bags, approximately half the surplus, and offer humane aid to North Korea.``

Mr. Kim further stated, ``2000 thousand bags cost 600 billion won in the domestic market and 250 billion won in the international market. If we use this amount as aid to the North, we will save 50 billion won in maintenance and processing costs.``

``Party president Lee Hoi-Chang expressed agreement with the proposal for food support after receiving reports from Unification vice minister Hong Soon-Young that the North informally requested 7, 000, 000 bags of rice at the South-North minister meeting. Personally, I feel that we should make a five-year contract to provide food aid and look into institutionalizing things like meetings between separated families.`` said Mr. Kim.

Democratic Party`s Ethics Committee Chairman Kang Woon-Tae stated, ``There are three ways to provide food aid to North Korea: unlimited aid, loans, and barter exchange. The party has already asked the administration to discuss the details of method and amount with the North. We hope that there will be meaningful discussions at the South-North minister meeting in October.``

Moon Chul fullmoon@donga.com