Here's some background on the situation:
>Contrary to Bush's assertion, most experts agree that geopolitical and ecological events led to a one-two punch that resulted in the North Korean
famine in the 1990s. The first major blow to North Korean food production was the collapse of the former Soviet Union and the socialist trading bloc,
which eliminated North Korea's major trading partners. The end of subsidized oil from the former Soviet Union and China literally halted the tractors
of North Korean farmers. The second blow-major droughts and floods that were the worst of the century-destroyed much of the harvest and forced
Pyongyang to seek Western and Japanese aid.
The persistence of famine, however, is due to economic sanctions led by the U.S. and its refusal to end the 50-year Korean War. What is scarcely known
about North Korea is that up until the 1980s, North Korea's agricultural and economic growth far outpaced South Korea. The World Health Organization
and other United Nations agencies have praised their delivery of basic health services, noting that North Korean children were far better vaccinated
than American children, and that life expectancy rates in North Korea surpassed that of South Korea.
Furthermore, only about 20 percent of North Korea's mostly mountainous land is suitable for agriculture. Before the Korean peninsula was divided, the
north served as Korea's industrial base and the south as its breadbasket. Despite these odds, by 1961, North Korea achieved agricultural
self-sufficiency, an amazing feat for a nation that scarcely a decade before was left in a pile of rubble.
The Korean War claimed four million lives and left North Korean agriculture bombed to bits. According to historians, the U.S. military's mission in
the North, called the 'scorched earth policy,' exhibited unprecedented brutality far worse than in Vietnam. The U.S. Air Force's use of napalm
destroyed irrigation dams and facilities that provided 75 percent of North Korea's food production. This very same act of aggression was considered a
war crime when Nazis destroyed much smaller facilities in Holland.
[Edited on 3-4-2004 by AceOfBase]