Cankor Editor interviewed by La Presse

Corée du Nord: une situation explosive

by Mathieu Perreault,  La Presse

Célébrations du 40e anniversaire de l'arrivée au pouvoir de Kim Jong-il, le 18 juin 2004, à Pyongyang. PHOTO: ARCHIVES REUTERS

Notre journaliste est l’un des rares au Canada à avoir fait un reportage en Corée du Nord, en 2001. Il nous livre ici son analyse.

Erich Weingartner n’en croyait pas ses oreilles, hier un peu avant 23h, quand La Presse lui a appris la nouvelle. Immédiatement, il a entrevu le caractère explosif de la situation.

«La succession de Kim Jong-il était enclenchée depuis l’an dernier, mais l’oncle et la tante de l’héritier, Kim Jong-un, devaient avoir plusieurs années pour le préparer au pouvoir», explique M. Weingartner, qui est l’un des Canadiens à avoir le plus souvent séjourné en Corée du Nord. «Dans les journaux et à la télé, on voyait depuis un an les Kim père et fils ensemble. Mais on ne voyait jamais le genre d’hommage à Kim Jong-un qui semble d’usage pour le chef de ce pays.» Read the rest of this entry »

South Korea’s Internal Division over Humanitarian Aid to North Korea and North Korean Human Rights, by Jhe Seong-ho

[Jhe Seong-ho is Professor of Law at Chung-Ang University in Seoul; he is a former Human Rights Ambassador in the ROK Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. KOREA FOCUS is a monthly webzine and a quarterly journal published by The Korea Foundation, featuring commentaries and essays on Korean politics, economy, society and culture, as well as relevant international issues. Prof. Jhe’s essay examines the various positions held in South Korean academia, politics and society on the question of whether to provide food aid to the DPRK and if so, how and under what conditions. We highly recommend it as a useful summary of South Korean perspectives. The following is the introduction to the essay. To read the rest, please click on the link at the bottom. –CanKor.]

I. Introduction

The question of humanitarian aid to North Korea has become a major social and political issue in South Korea, pitting liberals against conservatives, and moderates against hard-liners. These groups have taken sharply different positions regarding the distribution of aid to the North, suspected diversion of aid to the North’s military and linking material assistance to other matters concerning inter-Korean relations. These conflicts derive from North Korea’s uncommon status as an entity that will eventually have to be reunified with the South and as a threat to the South’s security. If assistance was intended for a country stricken by natural disaster, there would be no such discord. Read the rest of this entry »

Comment on Chosun Ilbo article by Karin Lee

[Karin J. Lee, Executive Director of the National Committee on North Korea (NCNK) is an experienced NGO aid provider in the DPRK. -Chris Nelson]

Chris, The poll quoted in the Chosun Ilbo article that you sent out last night doesn’t take into account the following considerations:

1) when did the person leave the DPRK? Food monitoring regimes have changed over time. If somebody left earlier, when the monitoring was less exhaustive, their experiences may have been different from somebody who left more recently. In particular the 2008/2009 program had greatly improved monitoring. Read the rest of this entry »

Comment on Chosun Ilbo article by Marcus Noland

[7 April, Marcus Noland commented on the Chosun Ilbo article  brought for consideration by Chris Nelson.]

For what it’s worth, the numbers reported in the Chosun Ilbo story are in the same ballpark that Steph and I got in our two surveys. These numbers create consternation among elements of the WFP, the “humanitarian community,” and the more pro-engagement parts of say the State Department. I say let’s be honest with ourselves. Here are a few paragraphs from our book:

In both the China-based and South Korea-based surveys, an astonishing share of respondents, roughly half of those surveyed, revealed that they were unaware of the long-standing, large-scale program (table 3.1). Moreover, among respondents who indicated knowledge of the effort, 33 percent of the South Korea survey respondents and only 4 percent of the China survey respondents believed that they had been recipients. Looking only at urban residents (those on the agricultural cooperatives would have been less likely to receive aid), only 3 percent in the China survey and 14 percent of the later, South Korea survey reported being recipients. Read the rest of this entry »

CHOSUN ILBO on North Korean food aid

 [Chris Nelson pulled this excerpt from the Chosun Ilbo on April 6 for consideration.]

Some 78.2 percent of North Korean defectors never received any foreign grain aid when they lived in the North, a survey revealed Tuesday. The survey of 500 defectors by the Network for North Korean Democracy and Human Rights conducted on March 25-31 found that 391 or 78.2 percent never received food aid from South Korea or the international community. Of 106 respondents who did receive such aid, 29 said they returned whole or part of the aid. This suggests the North Korean regime tried to deceive the international community by taking back already distributed aid as soon as international monitors’ backs were turned. Read the rest of this entry »

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