Royce Amendment to Prevent Food Aid to North Korea Passes House
Jun 15, 2011 -
Tonight, Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, offered an amendment to the Agriculture appropriations bill that would prevent sending food aid to North Korea. Royce’s amendment passed by voice vote.
"Let’s be clear, the aid we provide would prop-up Kim Jong-il’s regime, a brutal and dangerous dictatorship," said Royce. "One North Korean defector, Kim Duk-hong, recently said, "We must not give food aid to North Korea." Doing so, he continued, "is the same as providing funding for North Korea’s nuclear program," because it allows Kim Jong-il to divert resources."
The Obama Administration is actively considering resuming food aid to North Korea. Yet, this week there are reports that Pyongyang is making miniaturized versions of its nuclear weapons – ones that could fit atop ICBM’s – make this policy all the more dire.
Over 78 percent of all North Korean defectors say they never saw foreign food aid. The aid that’s coming into the country goes to feed the military. Other dissidents and NGOs tell of seeing foreign aid bags being sold on the black market by North Korean elites for a tidy profit. Doctors Without Borders further testified that none of the North Korean children they had met had ever seen food aid.
"North Korea will always cheat. Providing food aid not only allows Kim Jong-il’s oppressive regime to divert scarce resources towards its military program – one that has grown increasingly threatening over the past several years – but it delays the day when real, structural reform will come to North Korea," Royce said.