78% of N.Korean Defectors Never Saw Foreign Food Aid

      April 06, 2011 11:32

      Some 78.2 percent of North Korean defectors never received any foreign grain aid when they lived in the North, a survey revealed Tuesday.

      The survey of 500 defectors by the Network for North Korean Democracy and Human Rights conducted on March 25-31 found that 391 or 78.2 percent never received food aid from South Korea or the international community. Of 106 respondents who did receive such aid, 29 said they returned whole or part of the aid.

      This suggests the North Korean regime tried to deceive the international community by taking back already distributed aid as soon as international monitors' backs were turned.

      The Kim Dae-jung and Roh Moo-hyun administrations gave Pyongyang over 3 million tons of grains in aid.   

      Asked what a fundamental solution would be to the North's chronic food shortages, 94 percent opted for reform and opening-up, while only 1.4 percent chose more food aid. Some 73.6 percent believed that food aid went to the military, followed by party leaders (69 percent), government agencies (48.8 percent) and the privileged (38.8 percent). Only 2 percent believed it went to vulnerable children. Multiple answers were allowed.

      Asked what will happen in the North if the South resumes food aid, 49.4 percent said there will be no change at all, and 44.8 percent the North will return to hardline policies. Some 75.2 percent said the South should not give the North food aid yet, while a mere 8.4 percent supported the idea.

      The poll has an error margin of 3.25 percent. 

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