Int’l Red Cross warns of food crisis in North Korea

As negotiations continue over President Trump’s demand that North Korea junk its nuclear weapons and missile programs, Kim Jong-un’s bargaining position may be weakening. Reuters reports:

A heat wave in North Korea has led to rice, maize and other crops withering in the fields, “with potentially catastrophic effects”, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) said on Friday.

The world’s largest disaster relief network warned of a risk of a “full-blown food security crisis” in the isolated country, where a famine in the mid-1990s killed up to three million people. It said the worrying situation had been exacerbated by international sanctions imposed due to North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs.

I am no fan of the IFRC. Its ole in the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians who seek to destroy it has been one-sided. So, it does not surprise me if Sanctions are blamed for potential famine. No mention of the diversion of NK’s very limited resources into expensive weapons programs, of course.

And they blame recent weather for the probem:

In a statement issued in Geneva, the IFRC said there had been no rainfall since early July as temperatures soared to an average 39 Celsius (102 Fahrenheit) across the country, whose official name is the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). The next rain was expected in mid-August.

Yet, months before the July weather, in early May, Reuters was reporting serious food production problems in North Korea

“Funding shortfalls have meant that rations have had to be reduced and suspended in some cases,” WFP said in a statement coinciding with the start of the May 8-11 visit by WFP executive director David Beasley.

The real source of North Korea’s food shortage should be obvious: socialism. Just like Venezuela and Zimbabwe.

But the patch of drought and heat no doubt is increasing pressure on Kim to fund a means of easing the sanctions and getting some food aid shipments. Dependence on foreign charity is not a good look for dictators negotiating with Donald Trump.

I have no doubt that Kim Jong-un would rather lose a million of his subjects than make a disadvantageous deal that removed his survival security blanket (nukes) without adequate guarantees of regime survival.

No famine worries for Kim Jong-un's table

Nonetheless, the weather is adding to President Trump’s leverage. The many enemies of his will seize any opportunity to portray him as inhumane and causing starvation, so the card has to be played privately and skillfully.

Stay tuned.

Caricature by Donkey Hoety via Flickr

Hat tip: John McMahon

As negotiations continue over President Trump’s demand that North Korea junk its nuclear weapons and missile programs, Kim Jong-un’s bargaining position may be weakening. Reuters reports:

A heat wave in North Korea has led to rice, maize and other crops withering in the fields, “with potentially catastrophic effects”, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) said on Friday.

The world’s largest disaster relief network warned of a risk of a “full-blown food security crisis” in the isolated country, where a famine in the mid-1990s killed up to three million people. It said the worrying situation had been exacerbated by international sanctions imposed due to North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs.

I am no fan of the IFRC. Its ole in the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians who seek to destroy it has been one-sided. So, it does not surprise me if Sanctions are blamed for potential famine. No mention of the diversion of NK’s very limited resources into expensive weapons programs, of course.

And they blame recent weather for the probem:

In a statement issued in Geneva, the IFRC said there had been no rainfall since early July as temperatures soared to an average 39 Celsius (102 Fahrenheit) across the country, whose official name is the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). The next rain was expected in mid-August.

Yet, months before the July weather, in early May, Reuters was reporting serious food production problems in North Korea

“Funding shortfalls have meant that rations have had to be reduced and suspended in some cases,” WFP said in a statement coinciding with the start of the May 8-11 visit by WFP executive director David Beasley.

The real source of North Korea’s food shortage should be obvious: socialism. Just like Venezuela and Zimbabwe.

But the patch of drought and heat no doubt is increasing pressure on Kim to fund a means of easing the sanctions and getting some food aid shipments. Dependence on foreign charity is not a good look for dictators negotiating with Donald Trump.

I have no doubt that Kim Jong-un would rather lose a million of his subjects than make a disadvantageous deal that removed his survival security blanket (nukes) without adequate guarantees of regime survival.

No famine worries for Kim Jong-un's table

Nonetheless, the weather is adding to President Trump’s leverage. The many enemies of his will seize any opportunity to portray him as inhumane and causing starvation, so the card has to be played privately and skillfully.

Stay tuned.

Caricature by Donkey Hoety via Flickr

Hat tip: John McMahon