Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld says giving famished North Korea food will not get it to end its nuclear program, because the communist nation believes the weapons legitimize the suppressive regime. Rumsfeld also told Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren that the brutality and repression of the North Korean government has created the starving population.
The United Nations and others have reported that North Korea’s food supply could be seriously depleted by June, unless it receives international help immediately. Van Susteren noted that the U.N. World Food Program is launching an emergency operation to help feed some of the people in North Korea but wondered how the group can determine who would get the food.
“Using almost anything has been unsuccessful in terms of that goal, of getting them to end their nuclear programs. It appears to me — an observer over a long period of time now — that they basically see their nuclear program as legitimizing the regime,” Rumsfeld told Van Susteren, who recently returned from a North Korean trip.
“They are one of a handful that has those weapons and it gives them stature, and standing, and makes other countries pay attention to them,” Rumsfeld said. “I don’t think anything that can be done with food is going to change that. If you think about it, the countries in the region that have nuclear weapons are China, and Russia, and North Korea — South Korea doesn’t, Japan doesn’t, Taiwan doesn’t.”
Rumsfeld said he doubts North Korea would give up their trump card, even in face of a suffering population.
“That regime is such a repressive regime and so brutal to their people — and their demeanor, their handling of their government, is what leads to starvation and the fact that their people are undernourished and their economy doesn’t function — and they have to get up every morning and ask themselves how can they keep themselves in power,” he continued. “That’s what a dictatorial regime like that has to do to keep trying to perpetuate itself in power — and they don’t do anything for its people — it is a tragic situation.”
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