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The request was unprecedented; by choice, North Korea was and still remains one of the world's most reclusive countries. The regime's restrictions have ebbed and flowed, usually in accordance with the government's desperation for outside food.
Twice since Pyongyang has significantly tightened restrictions. In both periods—FYFY and from the beginning of FY until the time this report was being written—the United States responded by providing virtually no food aid. In February , the Obama Administration agreed to resume large-scale food assistance in return for North Korean promises to take certain steps on its nuclear and long-range missile programs.
As described in the text box below, however, the agreement unraveled less than a month after it was reached. Russel, however, gave no indication that the United States is considering food or other humanitarian assistance. As discussed in the U. Food Assistance section below, Members of Congress have a number of tools they could use to influence the implementation of future aid programs with North Korea. According to the WFP and the U. Despite the improved harvest, and signs that North Korea's economy is improving, especially in Pyongyang, the WFP has reported that malnutrition rates remain high, particularly among young children.
The Denuclearization of North Korea
The WFP and FAO reports, if they reflect the actual situation in North Korea, indicate that the malnutrition problem is likely due less to food shortages and more to inequities in the distribution system and governmental priorities. For much of and in the first months of , it appeared likely that the th Congress would confront the issue of whether to support or reject proposals for resuming food assistance programs to North Korea, as the Obama Administration studied and debated how to respond to North Korean requests for large-scale food donations.
On February 29, , the Obama Administration and North Korea announced they had reached two related agreements. In the first, North Korea announced it would abide by a moratorium on testing and allow international monitoring of key parts of its nuclear program. The second was a U. The agreement appears to have been largely worked out in bilateral meetings in The December death of Kim Jong-il, North Korea's former supreme leader, halted the talks for a few months.
However, the movement toward a restart of U. On March 16, , North Korea announced that it would launch an "earth observation satellite" in April. During their discussions with North Korea in , U. Such a launch would defy a number of United Nations resolutions, which demand North Korea refrain from "any launch using ballistic missile technology.
Thereafter, North Korea followed suit. One development Members of Congress may want to monitor is the food aid policy adopted by the government of South Korean President Park Geun-hye. Park has called for creating a "new era" on the Korean Peninsula by adopting confidence-building measures with Pyongyang, including the delinking of humanitarian assistance from other diplomatic developments.
In a variety of settings, President Obama and other senior Administration officials have indicated their support for Park's general approach toward North Korea, which she has called "trustpolitik," including its humanitarian aid policy. Park also has held out the prospect of South Korean investments in North Korean infrastructure projects, to help lay the groundwork for an eventual reunification of the two Koreas. She appears to have linked such large-scale to a North Korean decision to "choose the path of denuclearization. From time to time, the United States also has provided small amounts of medical assistance to North Korea.
NGOs to help several North Korean rural and provincial hospitals by improving their electrical supplies and by providing medical equipment and training. In October , KEDO board members decided to halt fuel oil shipments following a dispute over North Korea's alleged clandestine uranium enrichment program.
In the fall of , the KEDO program was formally terminated. After the collapse of the Agreed Framework arrangement in , the Bush Administration and the Chinese government worked to create a multilateral forum of the six major countries in Northeast Asia to discuss and resolve the North Korean nuclear problem. Talks were stalled after North Korea tested a nuclear device in October After a return to talks, a Denuclearization Action Plan was reached in February It called for a first phase to include the shut-down of key nuclear facilities and initial provision of 50, metric tons of heavy fuel oil to North Korea.
In the second phase, the parties agreed to provide North Korea with "economic, energy and humanitarian assistance up to the equivalent of 1 million tons of heavy fuel oil, including the initial shipment of 50, tons of heavy oil. The shipments of fuel oil or equivalent e. HFO shipments were delivered in a start-and-stop manner, slowed primarily by disagreements between Pyongyang and Washington over how and whether to verify North Korea's disablement, and over whether the United States would remove North Korea from its State Sponsors of Terrorism list.
Notes: Japan has stated it will not deliver energy assistance to North Korea until the issue of abductions of Japanese citizens by North Korea is resolved. Over time, Congress has influenced administration policy by placing conditions on aid to North Korea. This act also gave the President authority to waive Arms Export Control Act sanctions on Pyongyang for the purpose of providing aid in connection with denuclearization see " "Glenn Amendment" Restrictions " below.
However, this waiver was not used, and was no longer in effect following the May North Korean nuclear test. Denuclearization Assistance " section below. The State Department paid the North Korean government for the labor costs of disablement activities, and related equipment and fuel. NDF funds may be used "notwithstanding any other provision of law," and are available until expended.
Six-Party delegation and as technical teams on the ground at Yongbyon overseeing disablement measures. Therefore, funding for the disablement efforts came from the State Department's NDF fund which has "notwithstanding" authority. Because North Korea conducted an underground nuclear test on May 25, , the waiver may no longer be issued under P. The law stipulates that a nuclear test after the date of enactment would nullify the waiver authority. North Korea had initially invited the IAEA to monitor the moratorium of enrichment activities at Yongbyon as part of the February 29, , agreement with the United States.
If IAEA verification is required in the future, the agency might need extra-budgetary contributions for this work. The Senate Appropriations Committee report also did not specifically mention North Korea in its description of NDF funding, but also did not exclude it. The House and Senate Appropriations Committees deleted all the DOE monies for North Korea, saying in reports that should North Korea reverse its policies, then denuclearization assistance could be considered.
The Consolidated Appropriations Act P. Sections of the FY, FY, FY, FY, and FY appropriations bills say that, "None of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available in this Act may be obligated or expended for assistance to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea unless specifically appropriated for that purpose. Since , the international community has donated over A severe famine in the mids killed an estimated , to 3 million North Koreans.
Figure 1. North Korea has been adept at turning from one donor to another, opportunistically seeking out the least stringent terms. For instance, unlike the WFP, Beijing historically has made few requests for access and monitoring. The same was true of South Korea for much of the period. When both countries increased their food contributions to North Korea in the mids, this arguably allowed North Korea's central government authorities to roll back the highly intrusive from North Korea's perspective WFP in the mids see " North Korea's Restrictions and the Decline in the WFP's Program " below.
Conversely, in , when inter-Korean relations began to sour and humanitarian assistance from South Korea dried up, North Korea turned back to the United States for food aid and accepted Washington's demands for expanded access and improved monitoring conditions. Over the years some Members of Congress have supported continued donations to help the North Korean people, on humanitarian grounds, regardless of the actions of the North Korean regime. These voices, which were perhaps loudest during North Korea's famine years, have dwindled over time. In the th Congress, the House passed an amendment by voice vote H.
The amendment was included in the House version of H. The Senate version of the bill, passed on November 1, contained no such measure. President Obama signed H. In , the Senate passed by a vote of an amendment to S. The amendment, incorporated into the bill as Section , would allow the President to waive the prohibition if he finds that providing food aid to North Korea is in the "national interest.
The th Congress ended without the House-reported bill ever being brought to the floor of the House for a vote. In the th Congress, the Senate again passed a version of the farm bill H. The House version of the bill contained no such provision, and in February the conference committee to the bill adopted the House position. Both chambers passed the bill, and President Obama signed it into law P. Over the past decade, many Members have called for food assistance to be conditioned upon North Korean cooperation on monitoring and access.
U.S. Relations With North Korea - United States Department of State
The th Congress included in the FY omnibus appropriations act P. If the Obama Administration resumes food aid to North Korea, two options would be to use food aid that has not been committed or to tap the Bill Emerson Humanitarian Trust. The latter, which was used for the original program, is a financial reserve that may be used when the United States Agency for International Development USAID Administrator makes a determination that other statutory sources of aid are unavailable.