United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon affirmed on Friday the commitment of the UN to providing humanitarian aid to North Korea hours before the South Korean parliamentary claimed that the state needs international aid to decrease its infant mortality rate.
The annoucement came following a meeting with North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Su-yong in New York, who was in US for the last session of the UN General Assembly this year.
The infant mortality rate in North Korea is six times higher than in neighbouring South Korea, according to the National Assembly Research service.
Reports blame "shortages in critical drugs and medical equipment" in the country for causing the death of 2.3 percent of babies born there under the age of one year as well as the fact that around 70 percent of the country's population suffer from a lack of food.
The UN had called for US $111 million earlier this year after the UN fund for North Korea decreased from $300 million in 2004 to less than $50 million.
International humanitarian assistant to North Korea has been affected by the issue of the country developing nuclear weapons.
Under a UN resolution North Korea is banned from launching satellites, but the country aims to do so, which may lead to sanctions being strengthened against it.
North Korean ballistic missiles
North Korea undertook tests of ballistic missiles many times, but the most recent test in particular has raised the South’s concerns as it involved a missile being fired from a submarine by the North for the first time.
South Korea has asked North Korea to end the test-firing of submarine-launched ballistic missiles.
The South Korean government intends to spend about US $8 billion over five years in order to cope with the North’s missile threats, starting from 2016 onwards.
North Korea is one of the world's nine nuclear-armed nations and among the four countries which have never signed the nuclear non-proliferation treaty.
China transferred nuclear technology to North Korea after the country was separated from the South in the Korean War of 1950-52 and aligned itself with the Soviet-Chinese communist bloc during the Cold War era.