N.K. says int’l sanctions hinder delivery of aid to Pyongyang

SEOUL-- North Korea's vice health minister has sent letters to international organizations, saying that the delivery of humanitarian assistance has been delayed due to sanctions against the North, the state media said Friday.

Kim Hyong-hun, vice head of North Korea's public health ministry, sent the letters on Monday to the chiefs and senior officials of three agencies -- the U.N. Children's Fund, the World Health Organization and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, according to the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

"Some countries and companies are unwilling to allow the carrying out and transport of cooperation goods because of U.S. pressure under the pretext of the U.N. sanctions resolution, and its aftermath," Kim said in the letter.

North Korea is under heavy United Nations Security Council sanctions over its nuclear and missile tests.

Pyongyang said that a delay in humanitarian aid is hampering its move to eradicate malaria in North Korea until 2018 and also hindering treatment for tuberculosis patients.

The North claimed that even humanitarian aid activities by the U.N. are becoming a "plaything" of politics, negatively affecting North Koreans' lives and health.

"The letters urged the relevant bodies to take proper and thorough steps as the transport of goods by those U.N. bodies is the issue which the U.N. should settle in an appropriate and reasonable way," the KCNA said.

But North Korea's claim is seen as contradictory as it has recently rejected a South Korean aid group's move to send pesticides and other medical goods to fight malaria to North Korea.

The North turned down South Korean aid and religious groups' moves to visit for exchanges in protest of Seoul's support of the latest U.N. sanctions against it.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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