Unification News for May 1996
North Korea Accepts Humanitarian Relief From Rev. Moon
Fact Sheet on the Summit Council's Humanitarian Relief Fund for North Korea
Information for this report was provided by the Summit Council for World Peace in Washington DC. Since this report was written, the U.S. government donated a further $2 million in famine relief aid money for North Korea.
* According to authoritative United Nations agencies, severe food shortages and possible starvation will affect millions of people in North Korea (DPRK) in coming weeks and months unless substantial food aid is soon provided. Severe summer floods, causing extensive agricultural and infrastructural damage, and now bitter winter temperatures, have greatly aggravated an already deteriorating food supply situation, creating conditions bordering on famine. In January, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported that large numbers of North Korean children will die of malnutrition if more food aid does not soon materialize. A December joint Food and Agriculture Organization / World Food Program crop assessment report indicates that 2.1 million children and 500,000 pregnant and nursing women are most at risk.
* Thus far, donor response to appeals by international humanitarian relief agencies has been very limited. The World Food Program issued an unprecedented worldwide appeal for help to victims in the DPRK but thus far has received donations to only provide little more than 5,000 tons of food -- enough to feed just 360,000 people for a month, yet, most of North Korea's 23 million population is affected. The WFP estimates that North Korea needs 1.2 million tons of grain to cover its shortfall and adequately feed its population.
* The World Food Program and International Federation of the Red Cross have appealed for immediate aid from both governments and the private sector. In response, The New York Times and The Washington Post have urged the United States to do more to provide humanitarian assistance to the North. The U.S. donated $225,000 through UNICEF for North Korean famine relief -- however, that is the maximum it can give under current law. Therefore, the U.S. is encouraging international relief organizations to raise funds for humanitarian assistance to the DPRK. As a result, the Summit Council for World Peace was granted a Treasury Department license to seek funds to be transferred to the World Food Program for relief to North Korea.
* The United States has more than just a humanitarian interest in assisting flood victims in the DPRK. Famine can easily lead to serious instability -- both internal and regional -- where war on the volatile Korean peninsula can break out without warning. Any hostilities unleashed in Korea will inevitably draw in Korea's neighbors, Japan, China and Russia. The U.S. maintains long-standing security commitments with both South Korea and Japan. Moreover, the U.S. signed a vital political agreement with the DPRK in October 1994 for the North to give up its nuclear program in exchange for proliferation- resistant reactors. It is in the American interest to maintain peace and stability in Northeast Asia by encouraging food relief for North Korea.
* The Summit Council for World Peace is an association of former heads of state and government from around the world promoting international peace, reconciliation and humanitarian assistance. It has been very active in fostering and facilitating inter-Korean dialogue and reconciliation for the past six years. Founded by the Rev. Sun Myung Moon, the Summit Council believes it is ideally suited to appeal for humanitarian relief in the DPRK. It makes no profit in soliciting donations other than to cover modest administrative costs.
* The World Food Program has opened an office in Pyongyang, North Korea's capital, and stationed international personnel in the country to monitor the entire process from the arrival of food at the port to final distribution to the hungry in the countryside. All beneficiaries have been farmers whose homes and food stocks were washed away by the summer floods. While the DPRK Ministry of Food Administration handles the distribution of food aid, the WFP is the only organization in the country permitted and with the capacity to monitor the distribution of food aid to ensure that it reaches those most in need. The WFP is satisfied that no food aid had been diverted by the DPRK to other than the intended beneficiaries.
To add to this, The Summit Council for World Peace was approached by the government of North Korea (DPRK) because they did not want to accept the aid through the South Koreans or the Japanese. The SCWP has a track record of dealing with the North Korean government since Rev. Moon went to visit the late President Kim Il Sung in 1991. Since then, Rev. Sun Myung Moon, who was born in North Korea, has agreed to assist the North in development of their resources. Rev. Moon is the only survivor of the North Korean concentration camps who has gone on to become an international figure, yet his attitude is not one of revenge, in contrast to his South Korean counterparts, but one of seeking resolution and the peaceful reunification of his homeland. This is the manifestation of his religious teachings in practice. He is the founder of numerous organizations dedicated to creating dialogue between world leaders in various fields, which is an expression of his vision for world peace based on Godly men and women creating true families in which God can take delight.
The SCWP is the only private organization at present permitted to administer aid in North Korea. This was worked out with the United Nations, the U.S. State Department, the U.S. Treasury Department and the U.S. Department of Defense and the White House. The reason for the sensitivity of this matter is that helping North Korean comes under the laws governing aiding the enemy, since there was no peace accord signed as a result of the end of the Korean War in 1953, but only a truce. The problem in North Korea goes way beyond these floods. There is a systemic problem which is now taking its toll in near starvation of large segments of their population.
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