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EU officials visit North Korea to assess food shortage

Posted June. 07, 2011 01:38,   


A team of European Union officials visited North Korea Monday to assess the food shortage in the impoverished communist nation.

According to a diplomatic source, the five-member team from the humanitarian aid department of the European Commission will stay in the North until June 17 to determine through interviews with North Korean officials and residents how serious the food shortage is there.

The team will be divided into two groups to visit places outside of Pyongyang and interview officials at international organizations and non-governmental organizations in the North. Members are expected to decide within two to three weeks after their inspection whether to provide food aid to the North.

A South Korean official said the EU is considering sending food aid to the North like the U.S., adding that assistance will begin after this month. In step with the U.S., the EU is expected not to provide large-scale food aid over a short period of time but instead offer non-rice items to prevent North Korea from diverting the aid to its military.