Thursday, February 25, 2010

North Korea seeks more food aid from China

Food shortages in North Korea are worsening, with the country this year getting more aggressive in receiving food aid from its closest ally, China. A source familiar with North Korean issues said yesterday, “North Korea is attempting to gain more food than usual from China through this month. North Korea has acquired around 200,000 tons of grain from China each year.

The Daily NK, an online news media outlet based in Seoul, said Tuesday, “North Korea’s food imports have increased at the border between North Korea and China.”

A source who recently visited North Korea said, “Officials in Pyongyang have openly talked about food shortages.”

More North Koreans are also dying of severe malnutrition, according to a source from Good Friends, a Seoul-based group fighting for human rights in North Korea. “Even North Koreans working at factories in large cities face difficulty making a living since they’ve received neither food rations nor wages on time,” the source said.

An official from the ruling North Korean Workers’ Party, Won Tong Yon, recently complained that South Korea has not kept a pledge made in October last year to send 400,000 tons of rice to North Korea. Won’s complaint is seen as reflecting how serious North Korea considers its food shortages.

Dong-a Ilbo

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