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23 Dec 2011 10:35 AM

Obama administration should provide food aid to N. Korea 'as soon as is practical'

Recounting the factors that led to and conditions that persisted during the North Korean famine between 1995 and 1998, New Yorker staff writer Steve Coll says in this opinion piece in the magazine, "Better harvests and international food aid ended the worst suffering by 1998. Yet chronic food insecurity and shortages persist to this day."

"It is frustrating to provide food aid to a corrupt, inefficient, militarily aggressive regime that may steal much of what is donated, and will certainly use international support to maintain outsized spending on arms, nuclear bombs, and missiles," he writes, concluding, "Yet hunger cannot be an instrument of international diplomacy. The most pragmatic and humanitarian step the Obama Administration can take to promote stability during North Korea's political transition is to deliver needed food to the country's disenfranchised population -- and as soon as is practical" (12/22).

This article was reprinted from with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.

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