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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 
            ///// 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)
28-Jun-2000 06:18 AM EDT (28-Jun-2000 1018 UTC)
Source: Voice of America

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