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UNITED NATIONS - North Korea has warned that it is facing a food shortfall of some 1.4 million tons in 2019 and has been forced to almost halve rations, blaming high temperatures, drought, floods and United Nations sanctions in a memo seen by Reuters on Thursday.
The release of the undated two-page memo by the North Korean mission to the United Nations comes ahead of a second summit next week between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
Washington has been demanding that North Korea give up a nuclear weapons program that threatens the United States, while North Korea has been seeking a lifting of punishing sanctions, a formal end to the 1950-53 Korean War and security guarantees.
The 15-member U.N. Security Council has unanimously boosted sanctions on North Korea since 2006 in a bid to choke off funding for Pyongyang's nuclear and ballistic missile programs.
"The DPRK government calls on international organizations to urgently respond to addressing the food situation," read the North Korean memo, which the country's U.N. mission described as a follow-up to joint assessment with the World Food Programme between Nov. 26 and Dec. 7, 2018. WFP declined to comment.
The official name for North Korea is the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK).
The memo said North Korea's food production last year was 4.951 million tons, 503,000 tons down on 2017. The United Nations confirmed these figures as official government data provided at the end of January and said North Korea's food production included rice, wheat, potato and soy beans.
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