14 April 2012

US Calls Off NoKor Aid


The United States Friday called off plans to send food aid to North Korea after the impoverished state's defiant rocket launch, as an aid group feared more than two million children would go hungry.
The United States had already suspended the plan to deliver 240,000 metric tons of assistance aimed at children and pregnant women as North Korea prepared what the regime called an unsuccessful bid to put a satellite in orbit.
President Barack Obama's administration, which had fine-tuned the aid package for months before announcing it February 29, said it was "impossible" to move forward after what US officials considered a flopped missile test.

"Their efforts to launch a missile clearly demonstrate that they could not be trusted to keep their com¬mitments," deputy national security advisor Ben Rhodes said aboard Air Force One en route to Colombia for the Summit of the Americas.
"Therefore we are not going for¬ward with an agreement to provide them with any assistance."
Under the February 29 deal aimed at easing longstanding ten¬sions, the United States agreed to deliver aid under supervision in the authoritarian state and North Ko¬rea said it would freeze its nuclear and missile tests.
Asked if the food aid was off indefinitely, State Department spokesman Mark Toner said that the United States no longer "can frankly trust the North Koreans that this will end up in appropriate hands."
Hundreds of thousands of North Koreans are believed to have died in a famine in the 1990s. UN agen¬cies estimated in November after a visit to the North that three million people would need food aid in 2012.
Mercy Corps, one of five US non-governmental groups that would have delivered the aid, said the as¬sistance would have reached more than two million North Korean chil¬dren and tens of thousands of preg¬nant women.
David Austin, the North Korea program director for Mercy Corps, said that the United States for gen¬erations had donated food to the needy regardless of political consid¬erations.
mb.com.ph

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