The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) has begun shipping medical supplies from the Chinese port of Dalian to North Korea’s Nampo and plans to deliver more items, according to its Seoul office.
“The sea route from China’s Dalian to Nampo has been opened,” Oren Schlein, the head of the Seoul liaison office for UNICEF, said during a peace forum held in Incheon, west of Seoul. “Some medical supplies have been shipped (to North Korea), and more will be delivered.”
North Korea has tightened border controls since the outbreak of the coronavirus in China, closing sea and land routes for key materials and medical supplies sent by UN agencies and other humanitarian groups.
Marian Yun, a senior policy advisor at World Food Program, another UN agency in charge of food aid, said Pyongyang needs to ease its border restrictions to receive crucial aid to address its food shortage.
“The WFP’s food stockpile in North Korea has already run out this year,” Yun said. “The most important factor in North Korea’s food situation is whether or not its government approves the deliveries of humanitarian aid.”
Last week, the World Health Organization said it has begun the shipment of COVID-19 medical supplies to North Korea through Dalian, raising the possibility that the reclusive state might be easing its long-enforced tight border controls amid the global pandemic.
Pyongyang has claimed to be coronavirus-free and rejected outside help for its anti-epidemic campaign for fear that any shipment could spread the virus to its soil. (Yonhap)Internet Explorer Channel Network