What would 240,000 tons of U.S. food mean for North Korea?


This article was originally on a blog post platform and may be missing photos, graphics or links. See About archive blog posts.

The U.S. is cautiously assessing its next steps in reinstating humanitarian aid to North Korea, which has suffered famines after years of failed policies and international sanctions, The Times’ John Glionna reports.

In most of North Korea, people almost never eat meat and even a bowl of rice is a rare treat. An entire generation of North Koreans was stunted by malnutrition; one study of defectors who escaped to China found that 18-year-old men were five inches shorter than their South Korean counterparts.


If the United States starts assisting North Korea again, that could mean 240,000 tons of food a year. What would that mean to North Korea? To put that number in perspective, check out this chart from North Korea experts Stephan Haggard and Marcus Noland illustrating its estimated grain supplies.

The yellow line represents Haggard and Noland’s estimates; the blue line is United Nations estimates. The Times added the green arrow to show what U.S. aid could do. Another 240,000 tons from the United States (roughly 218,000 metric tons) could push supplies above the minimum needed for each person to have enough food:


Trading ideals for sustenance

North Korean successor inherits troubled land

U.S. still taking cautious approach to North Korea aid


-- Emily Alpert