U.S. President Donald Trump and his South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-in discussed North Korea’s recent short-range missile test as well as a recent joint food security assessment from the World Food Program (WFP) and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
A UN report published on Friday concluded that 10.1 million North Koreans remained food insecure and predicted falling crops yields, expanding food shortfalls and noted lower Public Distribution System (PDS) rations. “Overall, it is estimated that 10.1 million people (40 percent of the population) are food insecure and in urgent need of food assistance,” the report reads. “Prolonged dry spells, abnormally high temperatures and floods, coupled with limited supplies of agricultural inputs, had a severe impact on yields of the 2018 main crops harvested last September/October.”
“President Trump assessed that South Korea’s provision of food to North Korea in a humanitarian move will be very timely and a positive step and supports it,” Blue House spokesperson Ko Min-jung said.
Countries are not prohibited from sending humanitarian aid to North Korea, though some items like farming machinery, industrial and medical equipment must first be granted a sanctions exemption from the UN, which can slow down the aid delivery process.
The two leaders also talked about how to keep diplomacy moving forward with North Korea despite recent missile tests, which was likely a new kind of short-range ballistic missile (SRBM). “We still believe that there is an opportunity to get a negotiated outcome where we get fully verified denuclearization. Chairman Kim has repeated that,” U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told U.S. media over the weekend.