North Korea refuses International aid staff in Pyongyang
Pyongyang: North Korea has told the United Nations to cut the number of international staff it deploys to Pyongyang.
According to a letter seen by Reuters on Wednesday, North Korea has stated that the organization’s programs have failed “due to the politicization of UN assistance by hostile forces.”
“UN-funded programs failed to deliver 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 letter dated August 21, Kim gave a deadline of the end of the year for the agencies to make the cuts.
North Korea wants the number of foreign staff with the UN Development Programme cut from six to one or two, the World Health Organization from six to four and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to cut its 13 staff by one or two.
Kim said the number of foreign workers with the World Food Programme should also be decreased “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.
There was also no need for a humanitarian aid coordination officer, Kim wrote, adding that UN aid officials could instead “visit as and when required.”
“The North Korean government’s decisions are only hurting the North Korean people,” said a UN diplomat, speaking to Reuters on condition of anonymity.
The move comes amid stalled talks between the United States and North Korea aimed at dismantling Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile programs. The U.N. Security Council has unanimously imposed sanctions on North Korea since 2006 in a bid to eliminate the funding for those programs.