U.S. extends small olive branch to North Korea to streamline humanitarian aid

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UNITED NATIONS (CBS) — The committee that monitors sanctions on North Korea for the UN Security Council approved new U.S.-backed guidelines Monday to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid to millions of hungry and impoverished civilians. The guidelines were crafted by U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley and experts with the U.S. mission to the UN as tensions between the U.S. and North Korea remain high.

Despite the new guidance on humanitarian aid, “the United States has been very clear that we will continue to enforce the current sanctions until we achieve the final, fully verified, denuclearization of North Korea,” a U.S. official told CBS News on Monday.

The official said that the new procedures are “solely intended” to establish a clear and uniform process to “review legitimate humanitarian exemption requests and guard against any activities that would undermine existing Security Council resolutions.”

The new procedures are intended to allow international and non-governmental organizations to carry out relief activities in North Korea “for the benefit of the civilian populations.” Aid organizations have pressed for the changes, arguing that the sanctions were never intended to stymie aid for civilians in North Korea.

The guidelines will likely expedite the delivery of medical equipment, drugs and much-needed food aid. North Korea has been awaiting the delivery of replacement parts for equipment to test for tuberculosis, as well as food for undernourished infants and toddlers. 

In a report in April, UNICEF said 40 percent of the North Korean population are in need of humanitarian aid: “Under-nutrition continues to be a serious concern with more than one-quarter of children stunted due to a lack of adequate food.”

The Security Council has imposed severe sanctions on North Korea over its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs, which remain in place following the summit between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Read the full story at cbsnews.com

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