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Malnutrition Could Kill North Koreans 'Within Months'

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Aid from USAID and the UN's World Food Program...

Dire news from the hermit kingdom:

Humanitarian groups fear that the death of Kim Jong-il could worsen North Korea's dire food situation, after the US postponed a decision on potential aid.

The country has relied on foreign supplies since the devastating famine of the mid-90s killed hundreds of thousands of people. But the World Food Programme (WFP) and NGOs have warned that the situation is particularly bleak this year.

Aid groups warned that North Koreans would die from malnutrition within months unless donations increased. The WFP launched an emergency programme in April, but has received less than a third of the funding it needs.

The US is clearly sending a message to the new leader, Kim Jong-un, that he must engage more positively on denuclearizing the region. While this is certainly a noble objective, the means will have dire consequences and saving human lives should take priority. The people of North Korea have suffered enough - there's no need to make their miserable lives worse for the sake of power politics.

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