North Korea has told the United Nations to cut the number of international staff it deploys in the country because the world body’s programs have failed “due to the politicization of U.N. assistance by hostile forces,” according to a letter seen by Reuters.
Also, North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho will not attend the annual gathering of world leaders at the United Nations later this month “due to his schedule.”
North Korea’s U.N. Ambassador Kim Song is now expected to address the 193-member world body on Sept. 30, the second last speaker for the week-long gathering.
The United States is trying to kick-start stalled talks with North Korea aimed at dismantling Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile programs. The U.N. Security Council has unanimously ratcheted up sanctions on North Korea since 2006 in a bid to choke funding for those programs.
In the Aug. 21 letter, Pyongyang said the number of international staff should be cut by the end of the year.
North Korea wants the number of international staff with the U.N. Development Programme to be cut to one or two from six, the World Health Organization to four from six and the U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to cut its 13 staff by one or two.