Vulnerable at risk of starvation, UN expert says

Vulnerable at risk of starvation, UN expert says
North Korea has been suffering shortages after blocking most overseas imports. Source: AFP
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Daily US Times: Elderly people and vulnerable children in North Korea are at risk of starvation, a United Nations expert has said.

The UN’s special rapporteur on human rights in the country blamed a Covid blockade and international sanctions – imposed over North Korea’s nuclear programmes – for worsening food shortages.

Tomas Ojea Quintana said that, as a result, North Koreans are struggling daily to “live a life of dignity”.

He called for the sanctions to be lifted to prevent a crisis.

The country is thought to be in dire economic straits which resulted the risk of starvation.

North Korea closed its borders to contain the spread of coronavirus and as a result, trade with China has plummeted. North Korea relies on China for fuel, food, and fertiliser.

This week, the country’s supreme leader Kim Jong-un admitted that North Korea was facing a “grim situation”, the state news agency reported.

There have been reports that food prices had spiked in the country, with NK News reporting in June that a kilogram of bananas costs $45.

Mr Quintana said in his latest report that the UN Security Council should look at easing the international sanctions and allow “humanitarian and life-saving assistance”.

US President Joe Biden’s administration has repeatedly said it is willing to talk to North Korea, but has demanded North Korea give up nuclear weapons before sanctions can be eased. North Korea has so far refused.

Despite its economic difficulties, North Korea has continued to build its weapons and missile arsenals.

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