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