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The U.S. Aids NGO, Promoting North Korean Democratization

The U.S. Aids NGO, Promoting North Korean Democratization

Posted April. 08, 2004 21:36,   


The North Korean Human Rights Act that the U.S. Committee of International Relations of House of Representatives approved last month is likely to pass both the Senate and the House of Representatives this fall, promoting humanitarian support to North Korea and its democratization.

According to the homepage (www.house.gov) of the U.S. House of Representatives on April 8, this act unanimously passed the Committee on March 31 under the mutual agreement of the Republican and Democratic Party.

A foreign source in Seoul reported, “The process of law enforcement of the House of Representatives, as well as passing the Plenary Meeting and the Senate, remain before the end of term by the end of September” and added, “Passing is highly likely.”

The act allows $2 million for aid every year to NGO (Non-Government Organizations), in which the U.S. government promotes North Korean rights and democratization from 2005-2008, and to the “movement of sending radios to North Korea.”

The U.S. government can also supply “over $100 million” each year for four years to WFP (World Food Programme) which supplies humanitarian food aid to North Koreans. However, this entails a stipulation that whether the food aid reaches the actual consumers should be directly detected and confirmed throughout North Korea.

In addition, it can provide $20 million as an aid each year for four years to the refugee camp for escapees and to the organization that prevents slave trade of North Korean women.

The act allows an escapee to deny his or her Korean nationality under the Korean constitution and to be considered as a refugee upon application. In relation to this, a foreign source was quoted explaining, “This is not to infringe on the Korean law but to prevent the rejection of a refugee status due to one’s Korean nationality.”

This act deleted or revised most of the “poison pill” of the North Korean Freedom Act which was submitted in July last year. First of all, it allowed the U.S. president to defer the application of a precondition in case the policy decision is restricted under the “transparency clause” of food aid. Moreover, the act deleted the content that an economic aid should not take place until North Korea launches a full economic reform.

Seung-Ryun Kim srkim@donga.com