SEOUL, June 19 (UPI) -- A spokesman for the South Korean Foreign Ministry said the food situation in North Korea isn't serious enough to qualify as a crisis.
North Korean state media said drought in western North Korea suggests there will be food shortages this year.
A deal for food assistance from the United States collapsed in April when Pyongyang reneged on a pledge to halt nuclear and long-range missile tests.
South Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman Cho Byung-jae, however, said the food situation wasn't as dire as Pyongyang projected.
"Our general assessment is that it is not so serious as to fall into a level of crisis," he was quoted by the Yonhap news agency as saying. "At present, no plan is in the offing with regard to government-level food assistance to North Korea."
Pyongyang has relied on foreign food assistance since the 1990s.
Washington, meanwhile, announced that it extended a national emergency with respect to the nuclear threat posed by North Korea.
"The existence and risk of proliferation of weapons-usable fissile material on the Korean Peninsula, and the actions and policies of the government of North Korea that destabilize the Korean Peninsula and imperil U.S. armed forces, allies, and trading partners in the region continue to constitute an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States," U.S. President Barack Obama said in a statement.
Missile launches by North Korea in 2006 and 2009 coincided with nuclear tests.
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