Trump backs Seoul on food aid to North Korea


SEOUL • South Korea said US President Donald Trump supports the donation of food to North Korea through a United Nations agency, as the top US envoy noted the regime’s growing impatience with sputtering nuclear talks.

Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in — who has tried to serve as a bridge between the US president and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un — spoke on Tuesday about North Korea’s weekend weapons test and reviving nuclear talks that broke down when Trump abruptly ended a summit with Kim in Hanoi in February. Since then, North Korea has raised tensions with threats and military provocations.

“The two heads of state exchanged opinions of the recently announced report on North Korea’s food situation from the World Food Programme and the Food and Agriculture Organisation, in which Trump said South Korea providing North Korea food supply is very well-timed, and expressed his support, calling it a positive measure,” Moon’s office said after their call late on Tuesday.

The White House said the two discussed recent developments with North Korea and “how to achieve the final, fully verified denuclearisation” of the country. Its brief statement didn’t mention the food aid.

North Korea battles chronic food shortages and has seen previous donations of humanitarian assistance from the US and South Korea as goodwill gestures. — Bloomberg