UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – North Korea warned that it would receive around 1.4 million tons of food by 2019 and almost halve rations, with high temperatures, drought, floods and United Nations sanctions in a memo must be made by Reuters on Thursday.
FILE PHOTO – A North Korean farm can be seen in the rice fields on Hwanggumpyong Island, which is in the middle of the Yalu River, near the North Korean town of Sinuiju, opposite the Chinese border town of Dandong in North Phyongan Province. North Korea, June 19, 2015. REUTERS / Jacky Chen / File Photo
The release of the undated, two-page memo by the North Korean Mission to the United Nations faces a second summit next week between US President Donald Trump and North Korea Leader Kim Jong Un on the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
Washington has demanded that North Korea abandon a nuclear weapons program threatening the United States, while North Korea seeks the lifting of sanctions, a formal end to the 1950-53 Korean War, and security guarantees.
The 15-member US Security Council has unanimously increased its sanctions on North Korea since 2006 to stop the financing of Pyongyang's nuclear and ballistic missile programs.
"The Government of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea urges international organizations to respond urgently to the food situation," states the North Korean news release, which the country's UN mission calls a follow-up to a joint assessment of the World Food Program between the 26th and 26th World Food Program. And December 7, 2018. WFP declined to comment.
The official name for North Korea is the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK).
The memo states that North Korea's food production last year was 4.951 million tons. That is 503,000 tonnes less than in 2017. The United Nations has confirmed these figures as official government data, which was made available at the end of January. North Korea's food production included rice, wheat, potatoes and soybeans.
North Korea said it would import 200,000 tons of food and produce about 400,000 tons of early crops, but there is still a gap and from January, daily rations would be lowered from 550 grams to 300 grams per person.
U. N. officials and aid groups in North Korea consulted the government to "better understand the implications of food security on the most vulnerable people in order to take early action to meet their humanitarian needs," said US spokesman Stephane Dujarric on Thursday ,
He said the United Nations and relief groups could only help one third of six million people in need last year because of lack of funding last year. An American appeal for $ 111 million in 2018 is only funded to a quarter, Dujarric said.
The United Nations estimates that 10.3 million people – nearly half of the population – are in need and 41 percent of North Koreans are undernourished, Dujarric said.
In addition to the extreme weather, the North Korean memo also accuses US sanctions for restricting the supply of agricultural material and obstructing the supply of fuel to the agricultural sector.
US. The Special Representative for North Korea, Stephen Biegun, said earlier this month that the US had eased the humanitarian aid rules for North Korea and was working to remove a backlog of US permits.
Benjamin Silberstein, co-editor of North Korean Economy Watch and associate scholar at the Foreign Policy Research Institute, said the harvest had been bad, but it was not a sign of an emergency.
"Of course, it's at least partially about the sanctions," said Silberstein.
"Just look at how the letter is worded. They want it to sound like sanctions are hungry, so the US should really be kind and give it up, "he said.
Humanitarian aid almost came to a standstill in 2018 when the United States pushed for UN sanctions, even though the Security Council Sanctions Committee of North Korea said that sanctions "should not have adverse humanitarian consequences for the civilian population."
"While UN Security Council sanctions clearly exclude humanitarian activities, there have been unintended consequences for humanitarian operations," said Dujarric.
Margareta Wahlstrom, President of the Swedish Red Cross, told Reuters after a North Korea trip in November that the labyrinth harvest was only 65 percent of the normal price for the areas in which they operated on the combination of an influenza outbreak , a heatwave and a typhoon.
Russia is considering sending 50,000 tons of wheat in humanitarian aid to North Korea to help deal with natural disasters, the Interfax news agency said last week, leading Russian lawmaker Konstantin Kosachev.
Kim Young-hee, a North Korean defector and expert on the North Korean economy at the Korea Development Bank of Seoul, did not believe the memo asked for food.
"The memo seems like a message that states," Although US sanctions do not directly affect people's lives, they affect the entire economy and people's livelihoods are worsening. Would not it be good if the sanctions were relaxed? ", She said.
Michelle Nichols reporting to the UNITED NATIONS Additional reporting by Joyce Lee, Josh Smith, and Hyonhee Shin in SEOUL; Editing by James Dalgleish and Paul Tait