Humanitarian nuclear issues top discussions between Ban and DPR Korea official

Food shortages and other humanitarian concerns in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), especially after the recent floods, as well as the ongoing nuclear issue, have topped discussions between Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the Asian country’s Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs.Mr. Ban encouraged more donor commitments to meeting humanitarian needs in DPRK during the meeting with the minister, Pak Gil Yon, at United Nations Headquarters yesterday in New York.The UN chief also emphasized the need for the DPRK to enhance its cooperation with UN agencies, including through improved access and monitoring.Taking note of the recent improvement in inter-Korean relations, the Secretary-General reiterated the importance of resolving the nuclear issue and other outstanding matters through dialogue.The UN World Food Programme (WFP) in July launched an emergency food supply operation in DPRK valued at just over $200 million to assist some 3.5 million vulnerable children, women, and elderly persons, after participating in an assessment of food needs in the country in March.The assessment found that “a bitter winter, crop loss and a lack of financial resources meant that the country was unable to secure cereal supplies from abroad, although it needed them to supplement the local production.”Although acute malnutrition had not reached crisis levels, chronic malnutrition and poor diets were widespread in DPRK, WFP said at the time. About a third of the children in the country were stunted and about a quarter of all pregnant women and nursing mothers were malnourished. 29 September 2011Food shortages and other humanitarian concerns in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), especially after the recent floods, as well as the ongoing nuclear issue, have topped discussions between Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the Asian country’s Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs. read more