US must teach N. Korea a lesson, says KT survey

DUBAI — The US says it is considering sending food aid to nuclear-armed North Korea, which is faced with an acute food crisis. But, a cross-section of public opinion here does not favour such a gesture from America.

By Staff Reporters

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Published: Mon 23 May 2005, 10:58 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 8:29 PM

The US plan, the news of which comes in the backdrop of a rare official level meeting the two sides held a week ago, is seen as a probable new phase in the strained relations between the two sides and a new initiative on the part of the US to effect a positive turn-around.

"The US should not do this", was the emphatic response from many in a random opinion poll conducted by Khaleej Times, covering Westerners, Middle Easterners and Asians, who all felt this is the time when US should rather try to bring North Korea to its heels.

"The only way the US and the world can put pressure on North Korea to abandon its weapons programme is by being strict with Pyongyang, and not by being nice to it", felt many respondents in the survey.

"North Korea should be next on Bush agenda to discipline the world", said Peter Jackson, a Western expatriate engaged in business here.

People are sympathetic, even sad about the sufferings of the North Korean people due to the food shortage the country is experiencing. "These are basic items of daily life, not luxury items. If the country was well managed, they will not have to face such problems. Whose fault is it", asked Mohammed Hafeez, an Asian expatriate who works with a shipping firm.

"There have, in the past, been reports of food donations to North Korea going into the wrong hands. Instead of these material going into the hands and stomachs of the people, they have gone into the military barracks to feed the soliders", said M. Ali, a Lebanese journalist.

"North Korea has one million soldiers in regular army. If, on an average, they have a family of four, then some four million of them would have thus been fed. It means most of the food items that reach North Korea by way of donations will go to the soldiers and their families", said a D. Smith, a Western expatriate who works with a university here.

"It means no justice to the ordinary people who are suffering or are crying to get food assistance. We feel the Us should hold back this food supply. We tried to turn the dictator away from the disastrous course he is on, but to no avail. He keeps threatening the world, now and then, with his nuclear weapons plans. How long can this go on", asked Richard Spencer, another western expatriate.

"The pressure must be kept up on the North Korean leader until he returns to the negotiation table and discussed the matter threadbare and agree to abandon his weapons programmes", he said.

"Kim Jong Il blows hot and cold. Sometimes he agrees to talk things out, and at other times he threatens to go ahead with his weapons programmes. Who is he trying to fool? He gives the appearance that he is trying to blackmail the US and the world, or he is using this as a bargaining chip. Both should not be allowed", said Charles A, a tourist.

"The dictator has to be consistent. He has to say, once and for all that he is abandoning nuclear weapons programme. He must say he wants to be part of the world community. He must stop his isolationist stand, and be favourably exposed to the world", said Ravi Verma, an Asian expatriate, who works with a multinational bank here.

US officials held a meeting with North Korean officials attached to the United Nations on May 13, the first direct contact between the two sides in the past six months. US says it wants to solve the North Korean problem through the six-party talks, which Pyongyang had boycotted for a year now.

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