EU officials to visit DPRK to assess food situation: report

08:50, May 30, 2011      

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A team of European Union officials are planning to visit the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) next month to assess the food situation there, local media reported Sunday.

Officials from the Humanitarian Aid department of the European Commission will travel to the DPRK after U.S. officials on a similar visit wraps up their fact-checking mission, Seoul's semi- official Yonhap News Agency reported, citing an unspecified source.

U.S. officials have been in the DPRK since May 24 to look into the food needs of the country, which is said to be faced with chronic food shortages affecting a quarter of its 24 million population.

Several officials remain in the DPRK after Robert King, U.S. special envoy for DPRK human rights who led the team of officials, left the country Saturday after securing a release of a Korean American who had been held captive for months.

Seoul officials have appeared lackadaisical at best to calls for food aid to Pyongyang by United Nations agencies, with its punitive measure against its northern neighbor including a drastic cut in aid, put in place amid prolonged cross-border confrontation, still in place.

South Korea, skeptical of reported food needs of its neighbor, has allowed minimum emergency humanitarian aid for the most vulnerable.

Source: Xinhua
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