‘Food shortage not No.1 priority for deal’
Russia Today, 1 March 2012
Erich Weingartner, a Canadian humanitarian affairs consultant, believes the food shortage and leadership change in North Korea are not primary driving forces behind the agreement.
“The country’s always short of food,” he noted in an interview with RT, “Right now probably not as desperately in need as it was a year ago. They have just received in January some 500,000 tons of food from China, so this is not the number one priority for the particular action that’s happening right now.”
Weingartner also pointed to the fact that the agreement was actually discussed by the US and North Korea prior to Kim Jong Il’s death. However, he also noted that the present deal is not a formal agreement, but is more in line with what North Korea likes to call “words for words” and “actions for actions.”“So it depends not only on North Korea and what they do, but it also depends on how the US is going to react in the next period of time and whether or not the six-party talks process gets back on track, and what happens in that regard.”
He said the other five parties, namely South Korea, China, Russia, Japan and the United States, had to do their part in the negotiations.
As for the drills recently conducted by the US and South Korea, Weingartner took note of the fact that North Korea isn’t the only cause of concern for America in the region.
“The drills are an annual event and have to do partly with North Korea and the threat from North Korea, but also partly the US asserting its power in the region. And so it has as much to do with the US facing China and protecting its allies in Northeast Asia, as well as protecting economic interests there.”
He said China was not likely to appreciate the exercises.