Gordon Chang makes case for US food aid to North Korea

Should the United States provide food aid to North Korea? One of the latest voices to add to this widely debated issue leans toward the affirmative.

Properly distributed and well-monitored food aid “can undermine Kim Jong Un’s still-fragile grip” on the reclusive country, columnist and author Gordon Chang writes on CNN’s Public Square blog. Chang says the entry of food — and, consequently, foreign aid monitors — can help end the North Korean government’s control on information in the country, Chang says.

Chang adds that monitors can give the country’s citizens the opportunity to interact with outsiders and get “a different perspective on the world — and on their own society.” The presence of foreigners will test North Korea’s surveillance system and is likely to allow unsupervised contact with locals should the government let its guard down, he says.

“There’s no question that the Kim regime misuses food donations,” Chang says, but he stresses that “refusing to feed hungry and victimized people” should not be among the United States’ measures to “stop North Korea’s missile program.”

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    Ivy Mungcal

    As senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributes to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.