SEOUL (AFP) – communist state must fundamentally change its system to end massive long-term malnutrition, a senior official said Friday.is willing to give the North unconditional food aid but the
Chief nuclear negotiator Kim Sook also said a decade of engagement under previous liberal Seoul governments had largely been a failure.
This photo released by the World Food Programme shows a mother holding her malnourished twins in a hospital in Hoiryong City, in North Hamgyong Province in June 2008. South Korea is willing to give the North unconditional food aid but the communist state must fundamentally change its system to end massive long-term malnutrition, a senior official said Friday.(AFP/WFP/File)
He was speaking a day after the North threatened to cut all ties with the South in protest at what it termed a hostile policy by the new conservative government.
“The real solution to the chronicis North Korea’s commitment to fundamental change. However, there is little sign the North is moving toward the right direction,” Kim told a seminar in the of Jeju.
He said “structural inefficiencies” had contributed to “massive malnutrition” which left children aged under 14 almost 14 centimetres (5.6 inches) shorter than their Southcounterparts.
Kim said the current Seoul government had offered Pyongyang unconditional food aid but it had refused to respond to an offer of 50,000 tons of corn.
He described the food shortage as serious but said it was unlikely to become a full-blown famine, as in the mid- to late 1990s.
The South formerly provided the North with some 400,000 tons of rice a year but the North has not requested the aid this year as relations soured.
Pyongyang has already cut almost all exchanges in protest at‘s decision to link economic projects to progress in .