Washington, Mar 17: The United States has warned that it would not send food aid to North Korea if it proceeds with its planned rocket launch.
State Department spokesman Victoria Nuland said U.S. now had “grave concerns” about the February 29 agreement under which the North agreed with the US to nuclear concessions and a moratorium on missile tests in return for 240,000 tons of food aid.
North Korea recently unveiled its plan to launch a long-range rocket mounted with a satellite in honour of its late former President Kim Il-Sung’s birthday next month.
Nuland said that a rocket launch would call into question North Korea’s good faith and would not create an appropriate environment to go ahead with the food shipments.
“We did warn them (North Korea) that we considered that a satellite launch of this kind would be an abrogation of that agreement,” CBS News quoted Nuland, as saying.
“Frankly, if they were to go forward with this launch, it’s very hard to imagine how we would be able to move forward with a regime whose word we have no confidence in,” she added.
Nuland said a launch would cast doubt on the North’s commitment to allow effective monitoring of food distribution, which is intended to prevent diversion of aid from the needy to “regime elites.” (ANI)