North Korea Slashes Rations, Warning of Food Crisis Ahead of Trump-Kim Summit

North Korea claims it has been forced to halve rations after facing a food shortfall of 1.4 million tons this year, blaming inclement weather and United Nations sanctions for the deficit, Reuters reports. “The DPRK government calls on international organizations to urgently respond to addressing the food situation,” read a two-page memo from North Korea's mission to the U.N. The memo also said the Hermit Kingdom’s food production last year was 4.951 million tons, down 503,000 tons from 2017. The U.N. said these numbers are official government data provided at the end of January. The memo comes just days before the second summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, where Trump is expected to follow up on his previous demands for Kim to give up the country’s nuclear-weapons program. Some analysts said the upcoming summit may be part of the reason for Pyongyang’s decision to release the memo. “Of course it’s at least partially about the sanctions,” Benjamin Silberstein, co-editor of North Korean Economy Watch, told Reuters. “They want to make it sound like sanctions equals starvation, so the U.S. should really be benevolent and give them up.”