Seoul (AsiaNews) - Despite its military provocations and ongoing nuclear
programme, North Korea has asked (and partly obtained) urgent international aid
for its citizens, battered by last month's floods. Following Pyongyang's
nuclear test in 2008, the United Nations had cut off humanitarian aid until it
terminated its nuclear programme. Seoul and Washington, Pyongyang's main donors
after Beijing, had done the same.
July's floods officially killed 119 people (but they could be many more)
and caused havoc in several provinces. At least 100,000 people were displaced
in Anju, Songchon and Chonnae.
A UN delegation that visited the affected areas said that residents needed
everything: food, drugs, water and shelter.
Some international aid groups have already begun
gathering supplies and donations. The Red Cross said it would allocate more
than US$ 300,000 for flood victims. However, much more is needed since two
thirds of North Korea's 24 million people already suffer from chronic food
Meanwhile, the 'young general' Kim Jong-un turned to dinners and
diplomacy. North Korean state media said that Kim the third yesterday welcomed in
Pyongyang a top Chinese official, Wang Jiarui, director of the International
Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, as head of
a large delegation.
Still, although China is North Korea's staunchest ally, it is less and
less willing to paper over the North Korean regime's follies.
At the meeting, Wang Jiarui conveyed greetings from China's
President Hu Jintao to the North Korean dictator.
It is the policy of the Chinese party and government
to consolidate and develop traditional friendly relations between China and
North Korea, Wang said.
He expressed belief that this friendship would bloom
more beautifully and yield rich fruits.
Instead of worrying about his people, Kim thanked his guest during what the
North Korean news agency described as "a cordial and friendly talk," which was followed by a dinner.