A senior North Korean official says his country is facing dwindling food supplies and has been forced to cut food rations for its people, NBC News reports.
The memo, written by Kim Song, the North Korean ambassador to the United Nations, appears to be an unusual admission that the country lacks enough food to feed its people, a situation that Kim blamed on a combination of natural disasters and the sanctions regime that is making it difficult to obtain farming equipment.
Song said the North Korean government was urgently requesting help from international organizations to feed its people. The memo was obtained by NBC News from the country’s United Nations mission.
Kim’s claims are difficult to verify, and his government has not always been a reliable source of internal statistics. He said a food assessment, conducted late last year in conjunction with the UN’s World Food Program, found that the country produced 503,000 fewer tons of food than in 2017 due to record high temperatures, drought, heavy rainfall and – in an unexpected admission – sanctions.
In a plea for food assistance from international organizations, however, the memo states that sanctions “restricting the delivery of farming materials in need is another major reason” the country faces shortages that has forced it to cut “food rations per capita for a family of blue or white collar workers” from 550 grams to 300 grams in January.
“All in all, it vindicates that humanitarian assistance from the UN agencies is terribly politicized and how barbaric and inhuman sanctions are,” the memo states.