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N. Korea's Red Cross officials depart for China visit: KCNA

North Korea 17:45 May 14, 2019

SEOUL, May 14 (Yonhap) -- A delegation of North Korea's Red Cross Society left Pyongyang on Tuesday for a visit to China, state media said, as the country struggles to cope with worsening food shortages.

The delegation was headed by Paek Yong-ho, executive vice-chairman of the North Korean Red Cross' Central Committee, the official Korean Central News Agency said, without giving further details.

The trip came amid reports that food shortages in the impoverished North are worsening, and whether the North's delegation will seek assistance from China is considered a point to watch for during their trip.

In 2016, China provided North Korea with emergency relief supplies through the Red Cross when typhoon Lionrock smashed the impoverished country.

Earlier this month, the World Food Programme and the Food and Agriculture Organization said in a joint report that North Korea's crop output last year hit the lowest level since 2008. An estimated 10 million people in North Korea, 40 percent of its population, are in urgent need of food, according to the report.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said last week it will provide North Korea with water pumps as part of an emergency measure to help the country in the face of the current food security situation.


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