North Korea Orders Embassies to Seek Food Aid - Reports

Dock workers unload bags of wheat for distribution to two million vulnerable children, women and elderly people in North Korea. Photo by: Gerald Bourke / WFP

The North Korean government has reportedly instructed its 40 embassies around the world to ask for food aid from foreign governments.

Each embassy was given a quota, the Guardian quotes an Asian diplomat. The instruction was relayed in December, the newspaper adds.

The North Korean embassy in the United Kingdom has not commented on the report, but the U.K. government confirmed last week that it was approached, Alertnet reports. Local media in the Czech Republic have also reported that the North Korean embassy had approached the Czech government, Alertnet adds. There are also reports that the North Korean mission to the U.N. office in New York has approached the U.S. government for food aid.

This direct approach of appealing to other countries is unusual, Alertnet notes. North Korea has traditionally relied on food aid from the World Food Program, China and South Korea.

The secretive Asian country is struggling to feed its population following poor harvest seasons. The country’s current harsh winter wearther is further raising concerns about the nutrition of vulnerable groups. 

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    Ivy Mungcal

    As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.