To: Mr Eneko Lattdabura, Director General for External Relations,
Mr Antonio Cavaco, Director General for Humanitarian Aid,
Sending my greetings to you, I am writing to you to reply to your letter dated on November 17, 2005 on the issue of humanitarian assistance.
As we had already expressed on several occasions, we are very grateful to the EU and its member states for their assistance to our people who underwent economic difficulties on temporary basis caused by devastating natural disasters. We will never forget it.
For this reason we have been doing all we can to resolve issues of humanitarian assistance in the mutual interests, even after we decided to stop receiving humanitarian assistance.
As you are well aware, European NGOs resident in the DPRK were to leave the DPRK by the end of 2005, but we had given special permission to them to continue their activities on ongoing assistance projects by 2006 taking into account the requests made by European Commission,
We had also planned to discuss with the ECHO mission visiting the DPRK in early November the direction and modality of future cooperation after winding up ongoing projects undertaken by European NGOs.
All these were derived from our sincere efforts and we hope you understand this.
However, to our regret, some time ago the EU, defiant to our opposition, presented to the Third Committee of the 60th session of UN General Assembly “resolution on human rights” against the DPRK to be adopted, thus throwing a stumbling block in the DPRK-EU cooperative relations developing on good terms.
While slandering our social system, the EU has gone so far as taking the issue of our decision to stop receiving humanitarian assistance and urging that the DPRK ensure “full, free, safe and unimpeded access to all parts of the country” for the international organizations and European NGOs engaged in assistance activities in the DPRK. This is purely interventionist demand.
According to a common knowledge, such a demand which have nothing to do with assistance activities beyond the target areas where international organizations and NGOs are acting could not be made, unless it pursues dishonest purpose. This point is also understood by international organizations and NGOs acting in the DPRK.
Not a single case was raised that aid workers were physically threatened and we, therefore, don’t understand the real .meaning of “safe access”, since we have been living in the most safe conditions.
We draw serious attention from the fact that the EU and the US are the same in that both are making a dishonest demand on the pretext of provision of humanitarian assistance through the adoption of the “resolution”.
Even the members from the European NGOs working in the DPRK say in unison why the EU abruptly made such a demand in the UN General Assembly under the condition that they had never personally made such a request to the DPRK side.
The EU intimidated the DPRK by inserting in the “resolution” that “… concern is aggravated by the announcement of the DPRK authorities of their intention not to accept humanitarian assistance from January 2006”, contrary to the fact that the DPRK government made special and exceptional allowance for the European NGOs to continue their ongoing humanitarian assistance activities in the DPRK even in 2006.
We have been extremely surprised by the abrupt, interventionist position taken by the EU side, because it used to say that it recognizes that it belongs to the DPRK’s sovereign rights whether the latter will receive assistance or not.
After all, such behaviour by the EU can not be construed as other than an unfriendly policy of interference incompatible with its engagement policy with the DPRK. It is as good as denying by itself what the EU said – that it separates humanitarian assistance from politics.
Such a “resolution” will only create an artificial political barrier in the cooperative relations between the DPRK and the EU that have been in good shape and will not help protect and promote human rights. Then we can’t but give our serious thought to who needs such a “resolution.”
There is no doubt that this is only needed for the US and other anti-DPRK hostile forces who are trying to abuse the “human rights” and assistance to seek a “regime change” in the DPRK.
Thus the EU has openly sided with the hostile forces in their attempts to misuse assistance to spy on the DPRK’s internal affairs and seek a “regime change” and therefore, we were compelled to make a request to end all the humanitarian assistance work by the end of 2005.
The US, UK and some other quarters in the EU are responsible for the present situation. They forced us not to receive the assistance any longer as they had submitted the “human rights resolution” to the United Nations General Assembly and politicized the humanitarian assistance.
The DPRK remains consistent in its stand to continue to develop cooperative relations with the EU.
We, therefore, expect that the EU will take a necessary measure to remove the artificial obstacles it has created in the bilateral relations.
Kung Sok Ung, Vice-Foreign Minister
Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
Pyongyang, 29 November 2005