DATE=6/28/2000 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=NORTH KOREAN FAMINE (L ONLY) NUMBER=2-263830 BYLINE=ROGER WILKISON DATELINE=BEIJING CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: The top United Nations representative in North Korea says the country is on the way to recovery from a five-year famine and may be able to feed itself in two years, if it has good weather and is given 250 million dollars in aid. V-O-A Correspondent Roger Wilkison reports David Morton says the recent inter- Korean summit and Pyongyang's diplomatic overtures to the outside world are creating a better atmosphere for donor countries and agencies seeking to rehabilitate North Korea's agricultural sector. TEXT: Mr. Morton -- the U-N's resident coordinator in North Korea -- briefed reporters in Beijing Wednesday on North Korea's food situation, following a meeting June 20th in Geneva between North Korea and donors. Mr. Morton says there was widespread agreement among donors to help Pyongyang revive its agriculture and repair its devastated environment. North Korea asked donors for 250 million dollars and promised to spend 500 million dollars of its own money to get back on its feet over the next two years. Mr. Morton says South Korea has already pledged 40 million dollars worth of fertilizer to the donor package. He says -- if other contributors do their part -- North Korea may be able to feed its own people in the year 2002 and move away from dependence on international aid. ///// MORTON ACTUALITY ///// If they can achieve basic food self-sufficiency by 2002 and sustain it thereafter, then the food programs can certainly phase down. ///// END ACTUALITY ///// Mr. Morton says Pyongyang has made changes in its collective farming system, allowing cooperatives to elect their own leaders and taking a new look at the importance of the bottom line. ///// MORTON ACTUALITY ///// We hear a new language nowadays, that enterprises have to function according to economic efficiency, for example, and that enterprises that are not profitable will be discontinued. ///// END ACTUALITY ///// The U-N official says that, in line with this concept, North Korean agricultural planners are now distributing more fertilizer to productive areas of the country, in a break with the past policy of equal distribution to all geographic areas. Along with these tentative reforms, Mr. Morton stresses that North Korea is showing the international community a more cooperative face than it has in past years, when it was suspicious of the outside world. ///// MORTON ACTUALITY ///// The dialogue, the understanding has improved a lot since 1998, and also the international atmosphere has, as you know, improved a lot in the last year, with the diplomatic initiatives and the summit, of course. And, if it does indeed lead to reduction of tensions, then, from our perspective, we can focus more on the economic, agricultural recovery. ///// END ACTUALITY ///// But he says inadequate access to information and the inability of international personnel to travel to parts of North Korea to monitor distribution of food and medicine are still hampering aid work. (signed) NEB/RW/GC / WD 28-Jun-2000 06:18 AM EDT (28-Jun-2000 1018 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .
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