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North Korea asks Mongolia for food aid

North Korea's new ambassador to Mongolia asked for food aid in a courtesy call with Mongolia's president last week.

North korea food aid us 2012 03 28Enlarge
North Korea relies on foreign aid to feeds its people, having suffered persistent food shortages since a famine in the 1990s. (FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)

In another sign of possible famine and food shortages, North Korea is asking Mongolia to consider donating food aid, the Wall Street Journal reported.

More from GlobalPost: New rumors surface of famine-induced cannibalism in North Korea

North Korean ambassador Hong Gyu made the request while making a courtesy call on Mongolian President Elbegdorj last week, according to the official site of the Mongolian presidency.

“North Korea may face severe food shortage," Hong said during the exchange. "Therefore, we ask Mongolia to learn possibilities of delivering food aid to North Korea."

North Korea typically relies on foreign aid to feed its people, and has suffered persistent food shortages since a famine in the 1990s crippled the country.

More from GlobalPost: US suspends planned food aid to North Korea

Kwon Tae-jin, a scholar on North Korean agriculture, told the Wall Street Journal that last year's crop yields were moderate, but not enough to tide the country over.

In a viral video recently published by the Mirror, a 10-year-old boy is seen starving to death on the North Korean streets.

There have also been rumors of famine-induced cannibalism in the country.

And in another sign of possible problems, Pyongyang did not distribute food last week to the northernmost province for the country's biggest holiday of the year -- the birthday of North Korean founder Kim Il Sung.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/asia-pacific/north-korea/130422/north-korea-asks-mongolia-food-aid