An article featured on the website of North Korea’s Foreign Ministry has accused Washington of weaponizing foreign aid in order to exert pressure and control over countries desperate for humanitarian assistance.
The analysis, penned by Kang Hyon Chol as a senior researcher at the ministry-affiliated Association for the Promotion of International Economic and Technological Exchange, provides examples from US dealings with Cambodia, Pakistan, Afghanistan and countries in the Middle East to argue that Washington uses “humanitarian” aid to carry out a “sinister political scheme” around the world.
For example, he claimed that Washington has used the promise of “humanitarian assistance” in order to encourage Syrians to rise up against their government. But such offers are in essence a “smokescreen for pursuing the interference in the internal affairs of the countries concerned,” Kang said.
According to the North Korean researcher, the United States employs foreign aid as a “political tool for subordinating other countries politically and economically.” He notes that in many cases, Washington actually ends up “raking in money” by securing advantageous economic or political conditions in exchange for such “trivial” humanitarian assistance.
He advised that countries with “sufferings and pains” should not turn to the US for help. “In actual practice, many countries have undergone bitter tastes as a result of pinning much hope on the American ‘aid’ and ‘humanitarian assistance’,” Kang argued.
The blunt analysis comes at a time when relations between Washington and Pyongyang continue to show strain, reversing a brief period of dialogue between the two long-time rivals during the Trump administration.
Last month, the country’s minister of foreign affairs, Ri Son-gwon, rejected an offer by America’s envoy to meet “anywhere, anytime,” explaining that Pyongyang is “not considering even the possibility of any contact with the US.” The top North Korean diplomat said that such negotiations would accomplish little aside from “taking up precious time.”
The United States has previously offered to lift sanctions and provide aid to North Korea on the condition that the hermit kingdom take steps towards denuclearization. Pyongyang has rejected such proposals as impossible under the current military tensions in the region.
The issue of humanitarian aid has become more pressing amid the coronavirus pandemic. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has publicly acknowledged that the country is facing a food shortage due to the health crisis and a recent typhoon. The country has so far shown no interest in accepting help from South Korea or the United States, though it has received some aid from China and Russia.