The United Nations should, first of all, deal with the humanitarian needs of North Korean population, while Pyongyang’s weapons program and political or economic issues should be treated as subordinate ones, spokesperson of Oxfam Asia Nipuna Kumbalathara told on Wednesday.

According to the Oxfam employee, as UN sanctions on Pyongyang intensify, supplies of humanitarian assistance to the country’s communities in need is becoming slower and more complicated, with transport costs becoming higher and humanitarian fund transfers having been blocked.

“The UN agencies operating in DPRK have the best firsthand view of the humanitarian needs in the country. UN can speak out on the human suffering of millions of civilians. UN needs to focus more on people’s needs and challenges instead of focusing solely on military weapons and the [North Korean] leader [Kim Jong Un],” the spokesperson said.

Kumbalathara stressed the need to open bank channels to North Korea in order to carry out humanitarian fund transfers to the country.

On Tuesday, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) warned that about 60,000 children in North Korea might face malnutrition in 2018 that can potentially lead to death due to the international restrictions imposed on Pyongyang that slow down food supplies to the country.

Tensions on the Korean peninsula have escalated in recent months as Pyongyang continues to conduct nuclear and ballistic missile tests in violation of the UN Security Council (UNSC) resolutions. In response to these North Korean activities, the UNSC has imposed the toughest sanctions Pyongyang has ever faced, targeting various areas of the country’s economy.

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