U.S. Senator Proposes Bill to Cut Off Food Aid to N. Korea
Staying in the U.S,
Amid the rising tensions surrounding the imminent North Korean nuclear test, a U.S. lawmaker has re-introduced a bill that, if passed, will cut off U.S. food aid to the North.
Choi You-sun reports.
Reports from Washington say Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has introduced an amended Food, Conservation and Energy Act for fiscal year 2013, that includes a provision to stop the U.S. government's food assistance program for North Korea.
If passed by Congress, the legislation would cut off the U.S. Agency for International Development's aid to the North until 2018 unless a presidential waiver is signed.
Similar amendments to the farm bill were introduced by lawmakers from both parties last year, but failed to pass Congress.
The provision to the Act, which must be revised by July 1st of this year, comes amid congressional criticism that Washington often uses food aid to gain an upper hand in negotiations with Pyongyang.
In February of last year, the U.S. and North Korea struck a food-for-denuclearization deal, but the agreement fell through after the North's rocket launch attempt in April.
Back on the Korean Peninsula, with tensions peaking amid speculation that North Korea will conduct a third nuclear test, Pyongyang has strongly protested Seoul's move to boost inspections of industrial parts and materials transported to the inter-Korean Gaeseong industrial complex, vowing to turn the area back into a military zone.
In response, South Korea's Unification Ministry on Thursday said the measure is aimed at managing the current situation, in line with the UN Security Council resolution adopted after the North's rocket launch in December.
In Seoul, the chairman of the South's Joint Chiefs of Staff, Jung Seung-jo, told lawmakers.. the South Korean military is ready for a pre-emptive strike against the North, if there are signs that the Kim Jong-un regime may use nuclear arms on the South.
Choi You-sun, Arirang News.