The US-North Korea exploratory talks in Beijing will broke on the question of food aid. The Obama administration had already promised aid in food shortly before the sudden death of Kim Jong il. His untimely demise allowed it to put the matter on hold until Washington could revisit it with the new North Korean leadership.
And yet, as we learn from the press, North Korea and the US are in disagreement on what is meant by "food aid".
The US is offering 240, 000 tons of food, with a large dollop of fortified milk and high energy bars; North Korea is wanting 300,000 tons mainly in grain.
For North Korea, fortified milk and high energy bars simply won't meet the feeds of its people on the verge of starvation; for milk is hardy a staple in the country's diet and high energy chocolate bars is more fitting for US GIs' mess kits. Grain will go a long way in feeding North Koreans.
You have to really wonder if the US is ingenuous in its desire to "coax back" North Korea if it continues to play games with food aid. It is important to recall that the Obama administration cut off all aid in food to North Korea; it has used food as a political weapon to bend Pyongyang to agree to Washington's demands. The results of this policy have been nil, and yet, the US continues a wrong headed policy.
You have to wonder if after more than 60 years, the US has learnt anything about North Korea.