North Korean pandemic, US diplomat worried about food supply


Seoul, South Korea (AP) —A US second diplomat on Friday expresses sympathy for North Koreans facing pandemic-related difficulties and food shortages, asking North Korea to return to talks on its nuclear program I called.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un recently warned of a “tensioned” food situation, admitting that his country is facing a “worst-ever” crisis. But his government has categorically insisted that Washington will not rejoin the negotiations unless it abandons its hostility.

US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman told reporters in Seoul, “Given the pandemic, the North Koreans who are actually facing the most difficult situations and what that means for their food security. We all feel that. ” The official name of North Korea, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

“We just expect better results for the North Korean people,” she said.

After meeting with South Korean officials, Prime Minister Sherman reaffirmed that he would continue diplomatic efforts to persuade North Korea to return to nuclear negotiations.

“We look forward to reliable, predictable and constructive progress with North Korea,” Sherman said. “We offered to sit and talk with the North Koreans, and we are waiting for their contact.”

Negotiations between Washington and Pyongyang have made little progress since early 2019, when the second summit between Kim and then President Donald Trump collapsed due to a controversy over U.S.-led economic sanctions. .. Kim has since threatened to strengthen his nuclear weapons and produce more sophisticated weapons unless the Americans lift the hostile policy, which is a clear reference to sanctions.

Some experts say that if North Korea’s financial difficulties worsen, it could be forced to reach out to the United States. External surveillance groups have not reported signs of massive hunger or social turmoil in North Korea. In a recent speech, Kim called on his 26 million people to prepare for the long-term limit of COVID-19. This shows that the country is not ready to reopen its borders, despite the devastating impact on the economy.

Following Seoul, Sherman will travel to Mongolia, and then to China, North Korea’s last major ally and aid benefactor. She will be the top US executive to visit China since President Joe Biden took office in January.

Mr Sherman said he would discuss North Korea with Chinese authorities when he visited Tianjin in northeastern China on Sunday, saying Beijing “certainly has an interest and thought.”

“The Biden administration describes its relationship with China as clearly complex. It has a competitive side, a rewarding side, and a collaborative side,” she said. “And thinking together about bringing about the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula is certainly an area of ​​cooperation.”