North Korea has told the United Nations to cut the number of international staff it deploys in the country because the world body’s programs have failed “due to the politicization of UN assistance by hostile forces,” according to a letter seen by Reuters on Wednesday.
The United Nations estimates 10.3 million people - almost half the country’s population - are in need and some 41 percent of North Koreans are undernourished, while Pyongyang said in February it was facing a food shortfall this year and had to halve rations, blaming drought, floods and sanctions.
“UN supported programs failed to bring the results as desired due to the politicization of UN assistance by hostile forces,” Kim Chang Min, secretary general for North Korea’s National Coordinating Committee for the United Nations, wrote to the top UN official posted in the country.
In the August 21 letter, Kim said the number of international staff should be cut by the end of the year.
North Korea wants the number of international staff with the UN Development Programme to be cut to one or two from six, the World Health Organization to four from six and the UN Children’s Fund (Unicef) to cut its 13 staff by one or two.
Kim said the number of international staff with the World Food Programme should be reduced “according to the amount of food aid to be provided” once the agency and North Korean agree how to implement a plan for 2019 to 2021.