US willing to deliver food aid to North Korea

Students gather at the foot of the Mansudae Grand Monuments, which depicts Kim Il-sung and his son Kim Jong-il. Photo by: calflier001 / CC BY-SA

North Korea is (again) running out of food, but this time the U.S. is willing to help out.

Despite economic sanctions, the reclusive country appears to be looking for new donors. And while North Korea’s rhetoric is lately scaring the world, the United States is considering granting a request for food assistance from Pyongyang.

North Korea already appealed last week for food aid from Mongolia, but all eyes are now on the U.S. government, which is open to assisting the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea on one condition: that American staff be allowed to monitor distribution of food inside the country.

“Our policy in providing humanitarian assistance is based on conditions of need,” ambassador Robert King, U.S. special envoy for North Korean human rights, told reporters on Monday. “If there were a request for assistance it’s something I’m sure that we would look at.”

Washington has a history of suspending assistance to Pyongyang for political reasons.

In April 2012, the United States stopped sending some 240,000 metric tons of food aid after North Korea announced to launch a nuclear satellite launch. Four years ago, the U.S. also suspended its food aid program to North Korea following the latter’s decision to expel international aid groups from the country.

This year, North Korea has so far received $7.6 million worth of food aid channeled through the World Food Program and UNICEF.

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    John Alliage Morales

    As a staff writer, John Alliage Morales covers the Americas, focusing on the world's top donor hub, Washington, and its aid community - from Capitol Hill to Dupont Circle, Foggy Bottom to the downtown headquarters of USAID, the World Bank and Millennium Challenge Corp. Prior to joining Devex, Alliage worked for a variety of news outlets including GMA, the Philippine TV network, where he conducted interviews, analyzed data and produced in-depth stories on development and other topics.

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