[EDITORIALS]North hurting its peopleNorth Korea apparently has canceled its Arirang Festival which was scheduled to take place in Pyongyang in August, due to damage from torrential rain. The cancellation of the event, which the North Korean regime concentrates its whole energy on, is evidence of the severity of the flooding that took place north of the border. According to reports, in just one county in South Pyongan province, more than 10,000 people lost their homes and about 24,000 acres of farmland were washed away due to the downpour. As a result, some observers say that Pyongyang might suffer from another crisis of mass starvation.
Despite the recent rain woes, the incomprehensible reaction of North Korea’s leadership troubles us. It recently turned down the World Food Programme’s offer to provide emergency rations, refusing to accept the stipulation that the food must go to flood victims. Even considering how little North Korea’s government cares for the human rights of its people, the recent decision is a difficult one to comprehend.
What’s even more disconcerting is its stiff diplomacy policy, which suggests that the North is ready to further isolate itself from the international community. Despite China’s earnest request at the Asian Regional Forum, it refused to participate in the multi-nation foreign minister talks. North Korea also stated that it would not return to the six-party talks unless the United States canceled its financial sanctions. This is a straightforward attempt to throw a cold blanket on efforts by the international community to bring Pyongyang back to the negotiating table. Under current circumstances, what nation will volunteer to help North Korea? In that case, only residents in the North will suffer the consequences.
Once the North decides to return to the six-party talks, aid from the international community will commence. It can also receive much-needed rice and fertilizer from Seoul. Nevertheless, when the North provokes a situation, nobody can help it.
If the Kim Jong-il regime is truly a government for the people, it must stop neglecting the suffering of its people and make a decision.