LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Clearing the record on aid for North Korea

Ms. or Mrs. Monahan, I read your letter (“In defense of POTUS and me,” Letter to the Editor, July 9) First of all your rendition of “singing in the rain” is about to be upstaged.

When a surgeon makes a mistake, it’s called malpractice. Not everyone during the election was wearing HRC T-shirts or voted for either candidate. Remember there are three other political parties in this country, The Libertarians, Green Party, and the Independent Party. I think it’s time to push one of them forward because our two oldest can’t seem to get things done.

The comments our current POTUS made about Bill Clinton giving away billions of American dollars is wrong. And the number he gave out (3 billion) is overblown and incorrect.

The Congressional Research Service, a nonpartisan arm of Congress, reported that between 1995 and 2008, the U.S. provided North Korea with over $1.3 billion in assistance. Slightly more than 50 percent for food aid and 40 percent for energy assistance, the funding was distributed from the end of Bill Clinton’s first term to the final year of George W. Bush’s.

The portion for food aid was aimed at patching the malnutrition the North Koreans were facing due to a record drought and famine.

The U.S. provided energy funds of $549.7 million in two chunks to North Korea. The first chunk went between 1995 and 2003, which is under Clinton. That’s the 1994 agreed framework, which Clinton negotiated between the U.S. and North Korea amid their threats to pull out of the nuclear nonproliferation treaty. In return for ceasing production, they were to receive two light water reactors financed by Japan and South Korea.

The U.S. agreed to provide them heavy fuel oil, which amounted to $400 million. Te two reactors were never built and the fuel oil lasted until 2003. When Clinton was president, the U.S. provided $236 million.

While the framework was at best incomplete, it kept the North Korea plutonium-based program frozen between 1994 and 2002. Clinton’s policies also interrupted North Korea’s flight testing of long-range missiles, which the moratorium lasted until 2006.

The money that went toward North Korea amounted to approximately $400 million. The rest of the 1.3 billion the U.S. spent on North Korea mostly went toward food aid. So there was no minimum nuclear activity. Their program was curbed for almost a decade.

This POTUS’ trip to Singapore was nothing more than a business junket. If he wanted to do business he should have done it in the DMZ. The Korean War veterans have waited long enough for that peace treaty.

Lonnie Brewer

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