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Taken Question
Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
January 6, 2009
Question Taken on January 6, 2009 Daily Press Briefing

Status of Food Aid Deliveries to North Korea (Taken Question)

Question: Where do you stand on the issue of Korean-speaking workers? Where do we stand on getting the program back up and running?

Answer: Over 143,000 metric tons of U.S. food (wheat, corn, and soybeans) was delivered to North Korea in 2008. Of that amount, the latest shipment of 25,000 metric tons of corn and soybeans arrived in North Korea on November 23 and is still being distributed by U.S. NGOs. The next shipment of food aid (totaling 21,000 metric tons) is now expected to arrive in the DPRK by the end of this week, with its delayed arrival due to recent rough seas. That shipment will also be distributed by the U.S. NGOs.

The United States has not stopped food aid to North Korea. A U.S. Government delegation that recently visited North Korea identified problems in the implementation of the World Food Program (WFP) portion of the food aid program. Those problems are not yet resolved. The issuance of visas for Korean-speaking monitors for the WFP program is one issue being discussed, along with other technical issues. Under the terms of our agreement with the DPRK, there is to be no limit imposed on the Korean language capabilities of the WFP and U.S. NGO staff implementing the food aid program.

We remain in dialogue with North Korea on these issues and will continue working with the DPRK to implement the agreed terms of our bilateral food aid agreement. We continue to support the U.S.-DPRK food aid program and are committed to the well-being of the North Korean people.

2009/012

Released on January 6, 2009

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