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UN reaffirms food assistance to North Korea through 2024


The United Nations has recommitted to offering food assistance to North Korea through December 2024.

The U.N. World Food Programme (WFP) noted its continued support in an undated document posted to the organization’s website outlining persistent humanitarian challenges faced by the authoritarian nation’s citizens.

“The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea continues to face a wide range of challenges, despite the fact that for several years, the country’s food supply has been remarkably stable,” WFP wrote on its website.

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A general view shows the first snow fall of the winter in Pyongyang on November 17, 2023.  (KIM WON JIN/AFP via Getty Images)

It continued, “However, the protracted humanitarian situation continues to pose significant challenges, together with recurrent natural disasters that exacerbate vulnerabilities.”

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is the official name of North Korea.

The document notes that financial commitment to food aid in North Korea is approximately $248 million.

The country, ruled by Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un, began as a communist society before rapidly transforming into a cult of personality and military dictatorship without even the most basic civil rights.

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The Kim family, sometimes called the “Paektu bloodline,” was enshrined by the nation’s first communist dictator, Kim Il Sung. It remains the ruling family of North Korea.

The harsh and authoritarian governance of the nation complicates international aid as global relief organizations attempt to reach impoverished and malnourished citizens but are forced to work through the regime’s channels.

Additionally, the North Korean government often prioritizes military capabilities and weapons technology over the standard of living of its citizens. 

“WFP will support the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea in achieving zero hunger in a manner that protects the food security and nutrition gains made so far while preventing undernutrition, especially among children, pregnant and lactating women and girls and other nutritionally vulnerable groups and while helping men and women become more resilient to natural disasters,” the organization wrote in the document.

World Food Program North Korea

A bag of blended food powder at the formerly operational World Food Programme factory in Pyongyang. The milk powder was used for blended food for children under 5 years and breast-feeding mothers.  (AFP via Getty Images)

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The new budget and distribution plan has been prepared anticipating a return of U.N. officials to North Korea after years of absence.

WFP officials have had practically zero access to the country since March 2021, when the last remaining U.N. employees exited amid some of the harshest COVID-19 lockdowns in the world.



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