North Korea faces a’starvation risk,’ according to a UN report.
A UN human rights expert warned Wednesday that North Korea’s most vulnerable people are “in risk of starvation” as the economy deteriorates due to a self-imposed coronavirus embargo, and that UN sanctions imposed over the country’s nuclear programs should be loosened.
Since early last year, the impoverished country has been enforcing a strict blockade to protect itself from the pandemic, with the economy suffering and commerce with crucial partner China reducing to a trickle.
North Korea’s state-run television channel, KCTV, announced in June that the country was experiencing a “food crisis,” raising the alarm in a country with a dormant agricultural sector that has long struggled to feed its populace.
Kim Jong Un, the North Korean leader, said in the same month that the food situation was “becoming tight.”
Ordinary North Koreans are “struggling on a daily basis… to live a life of dignity,” according to UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Tomas Ojea Quintana’s newest report, and the increasing humanitarian situation might “turn into a crisis.”
Pyongyang is subject to a number of international sanctions as a result of its nuclear and ballistic missile programs, which have advanced rapidly under Kim.
In the midst of a serious food scarcity, Quintana believes such limitations should be relaxed to safeguard the country’s most vulnerable citizens.
He stated that “the most vulnerable youngsters and the elderly are at risk of hunger.”
“Sanctions imposed by the United Nations Security Council should be reviewed and lifted as needed to allow for humanitarian and lifesaving assistance.”
The revelation comes only three months after the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organization warned that North Korea could face a “severe lean season” due to a food deficit of roughly 860,000 tonnes this year.
Since the failure of a second summit between Kim and then-US President Donald Trump in Hanoi, Pyongyang has stayed away from nuclear talks and has refused South Korean efforts to restart engagement.
The US has consistently stated its willingness to meet with North Korean representatives under President Joe Biden, while also stating that it will seek denuclearization.
However, Kim blamed Washington for the peninsula’s tensions this week, insisting that Pyongyang’s weapons were for self-defense and not aimed at any specific country.