U.S. supports humanitarian aid for N. Korea, but sanctions must remain in place: State Dept.

WASHINGTON, Oct. 22 (Yonhap) -- The United States supports providing humanitarian assistance to the vulnerable people of North Korea, a State Department spokesperson said Friday, however, suggesting U.S. opposition to easing U.N. sanctions on the recalcitrant country.

"When we think about and assess the humanitarian suffering of the people of the DPRK, the simple truth is that the DPRK regime itself is responsible for the humanitarian situation in the country," Ned Price said in a telephonic press briefing, referring to North Korea by its official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

"U.N. Security Council resolutions regarding the DPRK remain in effect and all UN member states are bound by their obligations under those resolutions," he added.

The remarks came shortly after U.N. Special Rapporteur on North Korean Human Rights Tomas Ojea Quintana argued U.N. sanctions on the impoverished North should be eased during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"As long as the borders continue to be closed, we may be facing risk of starvation among some segments of the population in the country," Quintana said in a press conference in New York.

Price insisted the U.S. was already doing all it can to help ease the suffering of North Korean people.

"We are involved in efforts to facilitate the provision of humanitarian aid to the neediest in the DPRK. This is evidenced in a number of areas, including in our ongoing work to expedite approvals in the U.N. 1718 committee for organizations from around the world to deliver life saving aid to the DPRK," he said, referring to the U.N. Security Council sanctions committee on North Korea.

"The bottom line is this. Even when we disagree with a government or a regime like the DPRK, we must work to the best of our ability to alleviate the suffering of that country, people. That is why we continue to support international efforts aimed at the provision of critical humanitarian aid to the DPRK," he added.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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