More North Korean news from the BBC-
North Korean food shortages have grown worse after its recent nuclear test led donors to withdraw aid, the UN says.
The UN official monitoring human rights in North Korea, Vitit Muntarbhorn, said the food shortage was critical.
North Korea is already short of food and this year floods have damaged the harvest, making matters even worse.
President Kim Jong-Il's nuclear test has led to international condemnation of the secretive regime and sanctions against its nuclear programme.
Pyongyang was due to receive 100,000 tonnes of food aid but will now get less than that, Mr Muntarbhorn said.
"Matters became ultra-complicated because of the missile test in July as well as the nuclear test recently, which prodded various potential contributors to reconsider giving the aid," he said.
"So there has been this sad and regrettable linkage between the various tests and the impact on the food situation."
His report says there are major concerns about basic issues like the right to life, the right to food and freedom of expression and religion.
Although Mr Muntarbhorn credits the regime for reforming its criminal law, he says there are still what he calls many transgressions and discrepancies of an egregious nature when it comes to the fundamental rights of North Korea's people.
There is precious little freedom of anything in the DPRK. People have the freedom to eat, but food shortages make finding nourishment very difficult if not impossible.
Famine in the DPRK is nothing new. Its been an almost ongoing story since the 90's. Only a year ago, Kim Jong-IL was calling for an end to all humanitarian assistance to his country. The populist term of juche, which means self reliance, is often used by the regime in Pyongyang.
The BBC article is short on particulars about what agencies are re-considering aid to North. Under none of the proposed sanctions against the DPRK that I know of, was a reduction in food aid included. So why stop the shipments? Or is it really the North and Kim that's saying no to the assistance? This could be just another warped episode of how Kim trying to make PR out of a diplomatic disaster. Look at the evil Imperialists, they are cutting off your food!
Ed at Captain's Quarters has a long post on this news. While I often agree with Ed, I think he is dead wrong on what this latest news means.
1- For the famine has long pre-dated the DPRK's nuke tests as I stated above.
2- His belief in China's unhappiness with the DPRK. I don't doubt China is unhappy, but they along with the ROK rather see Kim stay in power rather than see the anarchy of a total collapse in Pyongyang. A collapse will cause both a massive surge of refugees north and South in addition to the economic effect of having 20 million people needing massive amounts of economic and food aid. The sum will be in the hundreds of billions and I don't think the ROK or China are in any rush for it.
3- The military option against North Korea is an almost certain no-go. I wouldn't be surprised if the the DPRK military is a paper tiger. Even if that's true, just 1 or 2 missile strikes by the North against Seoul in retailation for any strike against the DPRK, will cause thousands of deaths and considerable damage to the South's economy. The ROK knows this and again has reason to prefer the status quo. The US is unlikely to ever attack the North without the ROK's support which I don't see coming.
I think the regime in North Korea will collapse one day. Thinking that Chinese intervention or US military strikes will be the cause is just fantasy.
Linked to- Planck's Constant, Third World County,