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By Phil McCausland and Dan De Luce
A high-ranking North Korean official says his country faces dwindling food supplies and has been forced to cut back on its population's food ration, Nach a memo received from NBC News.
Kim Song, the North Korean Ambassador to the United Nations memo, seems to be an unusual admission that the country has too little food to feed its people, a situation that blames Kim for a combination of natural disasters and the sanctions regime, which makes it difficult to procure agricultural equipment.
Song said the North Korean government has urged international organizations for help to feed their populations.
The memo was received from ABC News by the United Nations Mission of the country.
Kim's allegations are hard to verify, and his government has not always been a reliable source of internal statistics. A food inspection conducted at the end of last year in conjunction with the United Nations World Food Program found that the country produced 503,000 tonnes less food than 2017 due to record temperatures, periods of drought, heavy rains and – in case of unexpected approval – sanctions
Food Authority could not immediately confirm that the organization had made a review with North Korea or the country's conclusions in the note.
However, in a plea for food aid from international organizations, the note notes that sanctions are imposed "Limiting the supply of agricultural supplies in distress is another important reason." The country faces bottlenecks, forcing it to lower "food rations for a family of employees or employees" from 550 grams to 300 grams in January.  "All in all, it confirms that the humanitarian aid of the UN organizations is terribly politicized and how barbaric and inhuman sanctions are," the statement says.
Th Although the country plans to increase its food imports and reap its harvest earlier this year, the memo states that North Korea continues to face food shortages and may only increase by 10 grams in July.
This unusual take on a country that tends towards it Just before President Donald Trump prepares to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un next week in Vietnam. The White House hopes to urge Kim to rid his country of nuclear weapons.
Experts warned, however, that asserting a severe deficiency could be a negotiating tactic for the two-day summit.
Weakness to admit, but it is not without a plan, "said Dr. Victor Cha, who served on the National Security Council as director of Asian affairs during the Bush administration
to convince Trump to ease the sanctions In particular, with South Korea, China and Russia bouncing off the doors of the United States.
For the United States to be able to wink at the confrontation next week, the Trump administration must do so, see results, Cha said.
will want some steps to denuclearization from North Korea, but I do not think the North Koreans will give up a lot, "said Cha." When we talk about sanctions, many experts would say the place where you can do the least damage, and the best for the North Korean people is through humanitarian sanctions. "
Of 25 million people in North Korea, according to a UN report from March 2018 10.3 million or 41 percent of the population is affected by food insecurity, and 10.1 million suffer from malnutrition.
In an attempt to increase pressure on Kim's regime and nuclear program, the Trump government increased the sanctions that substantially hampered the flow of current international humanitarian aid to North Korea, according to a report by August Reuters. US humanitarian aid in 2018 dropped nearly 57 percent year-on-year, wire service reported.
Although North Korea receives less aid, it is more than unusual for them to publicly admit that sanctions are working and causing the nation to suffer.
The White House National Security Council and the State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
North Korea has previously acknowledged food shortages, demanded humanitarian assistance, and blamed international sanctions for problems Experts and former US officials said for their agricultural production.
The country has repeatedly suffered from food crises in recent decades due to a combination of inefficient collectivist management practices and inclement weather. A devastating famine claimed the lives of up to three million people in the mid-1990s, and some relief experts described it as one of the worst famines of the 20th century.
Last year, the Trump government stopped giving visas to humanitarian workers to travel to North Korea to help farmers and provide medical aid in a country where malaria and tuberculosis are endemic. Aid groups wrote a letter to the government in October, arguing that the visa blockade violated international law, worsening the country's catastrophic humanitarian situation, and that it would undermine only one of Washington's diplomatic initiatives.
The government told the relief groups in January that it would do so to ease the restrictions so they could continue their work in the north.
Daniel Jasper, advocacy coordinator for the American Friends Service Committee, a Quaker charitable organization that has been providing humanitarian work in North Korea for decades, said the sanctions and the way they are enforced have "hampered our operations ".
"It's reasonable to conclude that food insecurity exists," Jasper said.
Even though North Korea has managed its resources more efficiently, it does not have enough arable land to feed its approximately 24 million people, according to Jasper. A large part of the fertile land of the Korean peninsula lies in South Korea.
"The division has always weighed on food security in the north," he said.
The North Korean regime has in the past also negotiated its relations with each other interconnected nuclear program for food aid and calls for more support as a prerequisite for participation in talks.
The new memo is in line with Pyongyang's tactics "to weaken the sanctions regime by addressing humanitarian concerns," said former CIA official Jung Pak and now Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution.
"Although the regime imports hundreds of millions of dollars into luxury goods, it constantly accuses the United States and the United Nations of its problems," she said.
Sue Mi Terry, who has tracked down North Korea as a CIA analyst, said she believes the regime is paving the way for the upcoming summit.
"What they want is a sanction relief. That's the most important thing they're looking for, "said Terry, now Senior Fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. "They are laying the foundation for this meeting with Trump. That makes sense. "
The Trump government is likely to be able to extend the humanitarian aid exemptions, as it would be specific for Pyongyang without completely lifting economic sanctions before North Korea makes significant concessions to the nuclear weapons program, she said.
This could be "one of the achievements of this second summit," Terry said.