N Korean food crisis: S Korea seeking to provide food aid in ‘preemptive’ way

Seoul [South Korea]: Taking into account the current food shortage in North Korea, Seoul is pushing to provide food aid to its neighbour in a “preemptive” way, the South Korean Unification Minister Kim Yeon-chul said on Wednesday.

“By taking into account (North Korea’s) difficult food situations, we are seeking to provide preemptive assistances at the government level,” Yonhap News Agency quoted the minister as saying during a meeting here.

He reiterated that the government will extend humanitarian assistance to North Korea despite the “political situations”. This statement comes as denuclearisation talks between the elusive state and the USA have hit a roadblock after the break down of their second summit in Vietnam earlier this year.

North Korea also tested multiple short-range missiles last month — a move which was jointly criticised by both the United States and South Korea.

Last month, South Korea pledged to provide USD eight million as humanitarian aid to help North Korea’s malnourished children and pregnant women, as the reclusive state faces severe drought and a food crisis caused by its worst harvest in decades.

Sanctions against the state worsen the food crisis, with the UN estimating that around 10 million North Koreans are suffering from “severe food shortages.”

While Pyongyang wants the sanctions to be removed, the United States has reiterated that relief in sanctions would only be given after complete denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula is achieved.