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U.S. to continue food assistance to N.K.

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Jan 02,2003
The United States will continue its humanitarian aid to North Korea despite the nuclear standoff, U.S. officials said. "We expect to continue providing the same level of aid to the World Food Program in Korea as we have in the past," a senior administration official said Tuesday. "We don't use food as a political weapon." Secretary of State Colin Powell also noted in a television interview Sunday that the United States is the biggest food donor to the North. The U.S. principle of providing humanitarian aid to troubled regimes that Washington disagrees with politically dates to President Ronald Reagan, who said, "A hungry child knows no politics." With revelations about a secret North Korean nuclear weapons program and Pyeongyang's recent reactivation of a mothballed nuclear plant the North has been in the limelight as a danger to the United States and Northeast Asia. The Bush administration has vowed to use diplomatic pressure and economic sanctions to correct the North's path. Since the North's economic collapse that reached its peak in the late 1990s, the country has seen as many as 2.5 million people, or about 10 percent of its population, wiped out mainly by starvation. Washington is working with Beijing, Seoul, Tokyo, Moscow and others to influence North Korea, which has become dependent on international aid for its survival.
by staff reporter
January 02, 2003




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