Donors of Humanitarian and Development Assistance to Democratic People’s Republic of Korea

  • Lenka Kudláčová
Keywords: DPRK, humanitarian aid, development assistance, donorship, USA, Republic of Korea, China, Switzerland


With the outbreak of famine in the mid-1990s, the DPRK has become a recipient of humanitarian assistance. Immediately after the inception of aid flows, an extensive diversification of donors arose. The most important donor duo was the Republic of Korea and the USA. Japan, Russia, and the European Union all had important roles in the matter, and Switzerland had a very specific role in it. Meanwhile, the Chinese assistance obtained an entirely unique position. There was a temporary suspension of China’s assistance in the mid-1990s, but then it started again, and today, China is the DPRK’s patron. The aim of this article is to provide a comparison of the donors’ strategies and to outline the main trends of the assistance to the DPRK in the framework of the period of 1995–2012. The strategies of donorship have divergent tendencies, and in most of the cases, the donors preferred to make a strong effort to reach their political goals in the DPRK while providing humanitarian aid to it.

Author Biography

Lenka Kudláčová

Born in 1987, she is a PhD candidate at the Faculty of Philosophy at the University of West Bohemia in Pilsen. From the same university she aquired her Bachelor’s and Master's degrees in Political Science. In her research she focuses on the issues of the Korean peninsula, especially the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and its position in the international system.