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Amid growing deficits of food supplies in North Korea, which is under new leadership, the country recently elected for a new and surprising turn of diplomacy toward the United States. As previously reported by Toonari Post, the North Korean leaders has agreed to halt nuclear enrichment and missile tests in exchange for food.
According to the agreement, which was finalized in Beijing, North Korea will suspend nuclear weapons tests, enrichment of uranium, missile launches, and allow inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency to inspect Yongbyon nuclear reactor.
This rebirth of diplomacy between the United States and North Korea took place at a time when North Korea has been under the tight grip of dwindling food supplies. North Korea is evidently attempting to mend the nation’s food supply gaps with this nuclear deal. In return, the otherwise closed and secretive country will receive 240,000 tons of food supplies, an agreement that was in the pipeline since the last days of their late “Dear Leader”.
There had been a long standing promise that the year 2012 would mark the dawn of a new era and prosperity, according to reports by British paper The Guardian.
Admiral Robert Willard Commander of the US Pacific Fleet told the senate committee soon after North Korean announcement its diplomatic intentions that preconditions for food assistance “now include discussions of cessation of nuclearisation and ballistic missile testing and the allowance of IAEA perhaps back into Yongbyon [reactor].”
The most eligible aspect of this agreement is that North Korea has agreed to allow inspectors from IAEA inside their borders, after years of resistance where inspectors were expelled, negotiations around the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in 2003 was abandoned and nuclear devices tested in 2006 and 2009.
Over the last decade, diplomatic relations especially with the US were badly affected due to rigid behavior and continued arrogance over development of nuclear weapons, perhaps leading to the food crisis that blew out of proportion when the nation’s economic isolation intensified.
Bijaya Rajbhandari, UNICEF’s representative in North Korea, said in a statement a few months back, “If the funding does not arrive, and we are unable to keep our nutrition program to treat those children who are severely malnourished, these children will suffer irreversible consequences on their growth and development capacity.”
UNICEF’s spokesman, Chris Tidey, have told Reuters that “one in five children in North Korea under the age of five suffers from moderate malnutrition, which can cause stunting and also hamper their cognitive development.” The North Korean food crisis multiplied at its current speed due to the turnaround in policy by South Korea and the US, which ended the food supplies to North Korea in 2008.
Newly enthroned Kim Jong-un seems to have taken a step forward in fulfilling the promise of prosperity and dawn of a new era in North Korea, keeping aside political and diplomatic arrogance for now.