To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the humanitarian situation in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea following reports by the United Nations of food shortages and malnutrition; what steps they are taking to provide humanitarian assistance which reaches those in urgent need; and what discussions they have had with the government of that country to urge it to use its resources to prioritise the feeding of its people.
We assess that North Korea’s humanitarian need is likely increasing as a result of the country’s border lockdown in response to COVID-19. The lockdown has prevented most aid shipments from entering the country since January and restrictions on internal movement, including for UN agencies and NGOs, has severely impacted the distribution of aid and support. The UN estimates that 10.1 million people suffer from food insecurity and are in urgent need of food assistance.
DFID is providing multilateral funds to the UN and other international organisations providing humanitarian assistance in North Korea, including the Global Humanitarian Response Plan (GHRP) in response to COVID-19. As a country of concern in the GHRP, North Korea is receiving funds from this global appeal. We continue to make clear to the North Korean government that international support is available, and urge them to restore international access and monitoring for humanitarian assistance. The UK has also repeatedly called on North Korea to prioritise the well-being of its people over the development of illegal weapons programmes, through our bilateral relationship and in multilateral fora.