USA offers North Korea food instead of friendship

U.S. administration decides to provide 50,000 metric tons of food to North Korea in a humanitarian decision that the White House said is unrelated to stalemated efforts to get Pyongyang to end its nuclear weapons program, reports AP. Earlier today a North Korean delegation visiting South Korean capital Seoul said the isolated country wouldn't need nuclear weapons if the United States treated it like a friend.

Announcing the decision, USA State Department spokesman Adam Ereli said, that trying to ease the needs of the North Korean people and efforts to halt the nuclear weapons program are not linked.

The administration made a similar decision to provide 50,000 metric tons of food assistance last July, so the timing of Wednesday's announcement was not unusual. In 2003, the administration donated 100,000 tons. All of these donations were made as the USA and North Korea jostled over the nuclear weapons issue, as they still do, underlines AP.

Officials did not specify what kind of food would be provided. Ereli said that would be determined in consultation with the World Food Program.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Il indicated earlier this month that his country was ready to resume six-party talks with the USA and four other countries - Russia, China, Japan and South Korea - but no date has been set for that.

South Korea, meanwhile, has begun providing 200,000 tons of fertilizer to North Korea in a move designed to help overcome a food shortages.

And yet, The International Crisis Group, a private, not-for-profit organization, said in a recent report that North Korea was undergoing the most profound economic change in its 57-year history as a state.

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