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North Korea in need of food assistance

July 12, 2013 at 11:19 AM

SEOUL, July 12 (UPI) -- North Korea is in desperate need of food assistance from the outside world to help feed millions of vulnerable citizens, a research director said.

North Korea risked much of its foreign food assistance as a result of its defiance of U.N. Security Council resolutions condemning its nuclear weapons program. North Korea has conducted three nuclear tests since multilateral nuclear negotiations stalled in 2009.

U.S. lawmakers have said they were concerned North Korean human rights issues may be sidelined because of North Korea's nuclear concerns. A quarterly report from the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization said millions of North Koreans require some form of food assistance.

Kwon Tai-jin, an analyst at the Korea Rural Economic Institute in Seoul, told South Korea's Yonhap news agency distribution issues were exacerbating the problem.

"The country is always in need of food assistance for the vulnerable class regardless of the amount of grains secured by the regime," he said.

Researchers at Johns Hopkins University said this week they viewed evidence of a rocket test at a North Korean launch facility. All three nuclear tests conducted by North Korea were preceded by rocket tests.

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