RELEASE EMBARGO DATE : MAY 1, 2013 AT 9 AM
Panel: Refugees and Neighbors (Regency Room)
Date/Time: Wednesday, May 1, 2013 / 15:30-16:45
Talking Points for: Bruce Bennett, Senior Defense Analyst, RAND Corporation
The Bank of Korea has projected that after a North Korean collapse, 3 million of North Korea’s 24 million people could become refugees into South Korea, and many more could be expected to try to enter China.
The refugees’ demands for humanitarian assistance are most significant once they leave their homes and jobs. Thus other countries can reduce the overall humanitarian needs by delivering aid to where the people live, thereby allowing North Koreans to stay at home. The United States could help in this process, but it would likely need to do so with military escorts to prevent the misappropriation of the aid by North Korean criminal groups, some based in North Korean military factions. The US military escorts could work with ROK military forces to help stabilize conditions and thereby remove the lack of security as another reason for people displacing.
North Korean subsistence food requirements are about 15,000 tons of food per day. Depending upon the extent to which North Korean food sources disappear, a fraction of this total could be delivered to coastal counties (9 million civilians) by ROK and US Marines, across the DMZ by the ROK Army (to about 2 million or so civilians), and by air to the interior parts of North Korea (to about 12 million civilians). Coastal deliveries might also draw interior people to the coasts rather than forcing them to become refugees in China or the ROK.