Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

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N Korea begs food aid from Zimbabwe

N Korea begs food aid from Zimbabwe

* Rick Wallace, Tokyo correspondent
* From: The Australian
* March 09, 2011 12:00AM

NORTH Korea has resorted to begging for food from another impoverished 
global pariah — Zimbabwe.

A diplomatic source in South Korea said Africa had become the focus of North 
Korea’s aid efforts, Seoul-based newspaper JoongAng Ilbo reported yesterday. 
It has previously been reported that North Korea instructed its 40 foreign 
embassies to request food aid. The US and Britain have confirmed requests 
from Pyongyang for assistance.

“Now they are begging for food even from the world’s poorest countries in 
Africa such as Zimbabwe, where annual per-capita income is only around 
$US200 ($197),” the source said.

The North’s efforts to grow enough food to feed its populace have been 
hampered recently by a cold snap and the spread of foot-and-mouth disease 
from South Korea, which is likely to require culling of livestock.

UN teams have been assessing the state of the foot-and-mouth outbreak.

Despite these problems, food production in the impoverished country 
increased last year, South Korea’s foreign minister said last week, citing a 
report by UN food agencies. Kim Sung-hwan said Pyongyang nevertheless 
stepped up calls for international aid amid shortages caused by 
mismanagement of the state-directed economy and excessive military spending.

Seoul once gave an annual 400,000 tonnes of rice to its neighbour but this 
ended in 2008 as relations worsened. International irritation at the 
communist country’s nuclear and missile programs has led to a drop in 
donations to UN food programs.

The US special representative for North Korea policy, Stephen Bosworth, said 
last week Washington was assessing the case for a resumption in food aid but 
stressed the need for monitoring to ensure distribution transparency.


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