05:43 GMT +321 November 2017
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    North Korean farmer spreads fertilizer in a rice field in Sohung County of North Hwanghae Province, North Korea

    China Offers Food Aid to North Korea Suffering Worst Drought in a Century

    © AP Photo/ Kim Kwang Hyon
    Asia & Pacific
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    China expressed its willingness to provide food to North Korea after Pyongyang revealed that the country plagued by food shortages was suffering from a severe drought unseen for a century. The United States refused to help.

    "We hope that the government and people of North Korea will tide over the disaster at an early date and the Chinese side is willing to provide assistance at the request of North Korea," said Lu Kang, China's foreign ministry spokesman.

    "We express sympathy to North Korea for the serious drought," he added, as quoted by the Yonhap news agency.

    The dry spell has already affected approximately 30 percent of North Korean paddy fields badly hitting the main rice-growing provinces. According to South Korean authorities, grain production in the North could fall by 20 percent compared to 2014.

    The news sparked fears that drought would lead to food shortages in a country where memories of the famine in the 1990s are still fresh.

    The United States has declined to offer assistance to North Korea. Earlier this week, US State Department spokesman John Kirby said that he had no "specific information about the validity of the drought" and was not aware of any US plans to provide food assistance, according to Yonhap.

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    Tags:
    Democratic Republic of North Korea (DPRK), famine, food, humanitarian aid, Pyongyang, China
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