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North Korea

Volume 405: debated on Wednesday 21 May 2003

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To ask the Minister of State for International Development if she will make a statement on aid to North Korea. [113463]

The UK's policy towards engagement with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea has resulted in limited but carefully targeted humanitarian contributions. There are many constraints to humanitarian agencies operating in North Korea, including problems of access. The Government of North Korea generally refuses to allow international organisations free and open access to rural areas and forbids post-distribution monitoring and evaluation.The UK stands ready to provide humanitarian assistance in response to any new sudden humanitarian crisis. DFID contributed just over £2 million to humanitarian assistance projects in 2001–02. This support was channelled through UNICEF for essential drugs, immunisation and water and sanitation activities and through the British Red Cross for disaster preparedness and flood relief.

DFID is also providing support through the European Community's programme. In 2002, the European Community allocated nearly 6 million Euros (£4,244,000). DFID contributes around 20 per cent. of the European Community's budget.