NEW YORK, Sept. 30 (UPI) -- Donor commitments for humanitarian assistance to North Korea should increase, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said.
Ban made the appeal after meeting with North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Pak Gil Yon in New York Thursday. Besides food shortages and other humanitarian issues, the two also discussed the denuclearization of North Korea, U.N. News reported.
Ban's appeal for more humanitarian commitments relate to U.N. World Food Program findings that about 3.5 million children, women and elderly people need assistance in North Korea.
The WFP already has launched a $200 million emergency food supply operation in North Korea.
Officials of the program found that because of a bitter winter, crop loss and a lack of financial resources, North Korea is unable to secure food supplies from outside to supplement local production.
The WFP found that a third of the children are stunted and about a quarter of all pregnant women and nursing mothers are malnourished.
Ban called on North Koreans to cooperate more with U.N. agencies through improved access and monitoring, the report said.
Ban said the two Koreas should resolve their outstanding issues through dialogue.