Sanctions are hurting North Korea, Pyongyang officials say

By Elizabeth Shim Contact the Author   |  Oct. 12, 2017 at 9:14 AM
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Oct. 12 (UPI) -- North Korean officials recently complained of difficulties stemming from economic sanctions being imposed on the country during an international meeting of the Red Cross.

Birgitte Bischoff Ebbesen, head of the international department at the Danish Red Cross, said four North Korean delegates attended a conference addressing the relief needs of the Kim Jong Un regime, Voice of America reported Thursday.

Ebbesen said the North Korean officials submitted detailed information on the difficulties of securing supplies because of the sanctions.

Sanctions are becoming a constraint in the areas of distribution and procurement, Ebbesen said, adding the delegates from Pyongyang were being very frank about their needs.

The Danish Red Cross officer also said there were discussions of what efforts the North Korean Red Cross should engage in to mitigate the impact of sanctions on humanitarian aid and prevent additional trouble for ordinary North Koreans.

VOA reported delegates from South Korea, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Britain, Italy, Iran, Germany and Denmark were in attendance.

Ebbesen said no meeting between North and South Korean delegates was held separately.

The International Red Cross has held a meeting on cooperation and agreement with North Korea annually.

The Red Cross in South Korea has also organized inter-Korea family reunions.

The last reunion was held in 2015.

North Korea has stated it would agree to a future reunion if Seoul repatriates 12 North Korean women who worked as waitresses at a Pyongyang-run restaurant in China.

South Korea has stated the women defected, and were not abducted, a claim that is being challenged in Pyongyang.

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