The United Nations said on Thursday it was trying to convince North Korea not to cut the number of international aid staff deployed by the world body to carry out “critical” food, nutrition and health work in the Asian country, APA reports quoting Reuters.
North Korea wants the U.N. to reduce the number of international staff because its programs have failed “due to the politicization of U.N. assistance by hostile forces,” according to a letter seen by Reuters on Wednesday.
The U.N. estimates 10.3 million people - almost half the country’s population - are in need and some 41% of North Koreans are undernourished, while in February Pyongyang said it was facing a food shortfall this year and had to halve rations, blaming drought, floods and sanctions.
U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said the United Nations was “in dialogue with the government at this point on the issue of cutting international aid staff in DPRK.” North Korea is formally known as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
“Current U.N. operations already have a light footprint on the ground and continued capacity at current levels is vital for ensuring continued U.N. support for critical food security, water, nutrition programming as well as mobilizing resources,” Dujarric told reporters.