US to resume North Korea food aid

Washington announces measure for helping Pyongyang tide over its food shortfall.

    The United States was a major provider of food aid to North Korea between 1995 and 2005 [GALLO/GETTY]

    Previous aid shipments were suspended over concern the aid was not reaching the right people.
    Aid groups say soaring global food prices and reluctance by donors have helped to push North Korea close to famine.
    Food shortfall
    Washington will supply 400,000 tonnes of food aid via the UN World Food Programme (WFP), while US non-governmental organisations will distribute 100,000 tonnes, the statement said.
    The cost of the deal will depend on shipping costs and commodity prices at the time food is distributed, US officials have said.
    USAID said experts will hold a meeting in Pyongyang in the near future to work out operational matters.
    "Pending a successful outcome of those discussions, the United States will deliver a first shipment in June, in light of the urgency of North Korea's food shortfall," it said.
    The aid comes as Washington is putting more pressure on North Korea to come up with a declaration of its nuclear activities.
    The declaration is part of a broader multilateral deal aimed at getting Pyongyang to abandon all of its nuclear programmes in exchange for economic and diplomatic incentives.
    A senior US official said the aid was not related in any way to the nuclear issue.
    The United States was a major provider of food aid to North Korea from 1995 until 2005.
    The US suspended the assistance after Pyongyang asked representatives of the WFP, which was channeling the aid, to leave.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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