South Korea rightly provides Humanitarian Aid to the poor in North Korea: Japan is irked
Chika Mori and Lee Jay Walker
Modern Tokyo Times
The current leader of South Korea, President Moon Jae-in, is ignoring the advice of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan when it comes to humanitarian aid to North Korea. Moon, known for his more liberal approach to internal social policies and North Korea, is adamant that the most vulnerable in North Korea should not suffer from political posturing. Therefore, South Korea will provide $8 million U.S. dollars to two programs run by the United Nations.
Both sides of the argument always manipulate statistics. Hence, the true figure of innocents who perished in Iraq during the reign of Saddam Hussein is debatable after economic sanctions were enforced on this nation. Yet, it goes without saying, that vast numbers of people, including countless numbers of children, perished because Iraq found it nigh impossible to overcome essential shortages. In this context, the leader of South Korea doesn’t want to follow in the international footsteps of others that led to innocents dying.
Of course, for political elites in the Abe administration in Japan, they will rightly point out that Saddam Hussein – just like Kim Jong-un of North Korea – never found it difficult to build up the armed forces. In other words, issues related to poverty, medical provisions, malnutrition, and other important areas, should fall on the illogical policies taken by leaders who focus on the military path. However, for Moon, this argument is empty because only the innocents will suffer if humanitarian assistance isn’t forthcoming. After all, if the international community is right in deeming Kim Jong-un a brutal authoritarian and a warmonger – then clearly he will lack in caring for the most vulnerable in society.
The New York Times reports, “On Thursday, South Korea announced plans to donate $4.5 million to help the World Food Program provide nutrition-rich supplies to North Korean hospitals and day care centers. It also plans to donate $3.5 million to United Nations Children’s Fund projects that supply vaccines, medicine and malnutrition treatment to children and pregnant women.”
For Japan, the timing is wrong given the military bellicose nature of North Korea. This equally applies to the internal military modernization of weapons of mass destruction in this nation and the threatening behavior of North Korea towards Japan, in relation to testing missiles that fly over northern Japan. Equally disturbing is the rhetoric of North Korea that is threatening to destroy Japan. Therefore, not surprisingly, Japan doesn’t want to see any weaknesses in the chain of pressure being put on North Korea.
However, the consciousness of Moon is that malnourished children in North Korea -and others on the margins of society that need essential medicine and vaccines – need economic and health support. This humanitarian component is essential according to the current South Korean government of Moon. In other words, the authoritarian nature of North Korea and its ongoing militarization of weapons of mass destruction should not mean that South Korea abandons the innocents.
The Chief Cabinet Secretary of Japan, Yoshihide Suga, believes that South Korea is undermining the international pressure being put on North Korea by providing humanitarian assistance. After all, it is known that President Donald Trump of America and the leader of Japan seek a tougher approach to North Korea rather than any form of appeasement.
In the past, Trump hit out at the “talk of appeasement with North Korea” by the current Moon administration. Hence, Trump said, “talking is not the answer.” This approach by Trump is welcomed by the current Abe administration that seeks a tough stance towards the militarization of North Korea based on the dangerous missile and nuclear ambitions of this nation.
Despite this, Moon is adamant that dialogue is the way to calm the current crisis rather than confronting North Korea to the point that triggers a military clash. Similarly, the humanitarian angle is important because the current government of South Korea can play the high ground.
Moon said, “In principle, giving support for infants and small children and pregnant women should be handled separately from politics.”
Modern Tokyo News is part of the Modern Tokyo Times group
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