Flooding and poor harvests have caused North Korea’s worst food crisis since the late 1990s and have put millions at risk, the UN’s food body said yesterday.
The World Food Programme (WFP) said North Korea’s food shortage had worsened this year after floods last year, followed by poor harvests, leading to the threat of widespread malnutrition.
“Millions of vulnerable North Koreans are at risk of slipping toward precarious hunger levels. The last time hunger was so deep and so widespread in parts of the country was in the late 1990s,” Jean-Pierre de Margerie, the WFP’s country director for North Korea, told a news conference in Beijing.
The WFP has been given permission to launch a widespread new operation to target those most vulnerable in eight of the country’s 10 provinces.
An international appeal for aid will be launched in the next two weeks.
STRENGTHENING: The defense budget this year is to focus on replenishment of artillery and rocket stocks, and equipment for F-16 jets, the defense ministry said Defense spending this year is to focus on preparing weapons and equipment for a “total blockade” by China, including parts for F-16 jets and replenishing weapons, the military said in a report. China staged war games around the nation in August last year, firing missiles over Taipei and declaring no-fly and no-sail zones in a simulation of how it would seek to cut Taiwan off in a war. In a report seeking legislative budget approval, the Ministry of National Defense said it began reviewing its strategic fuel reserves and repair abilities last year, but did not give details. In “anticipation of a total
ANTI-SHIP CONFIGURATION: The Tuo Chiang-class vessels are to be built for NT$9.7 billion by Lung Teh, a shipyard that previously built four similar corvettes for the navy The Ministry of National Defense on Wednesday awarded Lung Teh Shipbuilding (龍德造船) a NT$9.7 billion Co (US$317.57 million) contract to build five Tuo Chiang-class corvettes with anti-ship capabilities, a defense official familiar with the matter said yesterday. The corvettes would carry vertical launchers for four Hsiung Feng II (HF-2) missiles, as well as eight Hsiung Feng III (HF-3) anti-ship missiles, in contrast to ships configured for anti-air warfare, which carry eight HF-2 and four HF-3 missiles, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. The anti-ship corvettes would be armed for improved standoff range against surface combatants and carry the latest
NINE TYPES: One of the devices can be carried by a single soldier and can destroy high-value, high-risk vehicles as well as target personnel, an official said Taiwan’s top military research body yesterday unveiled nine domestically developed drones in Taichung, including a loitering munition, or “suicide drone,” similar to the US-made AeroVironment Switchblade 300. The surveillance and attack drones shown to the media by the Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology included the Albatross medium-range uncrewed aerial vehicle Nos. 1 and 2, and the Teng Yun 2 and Cardinal 2 and 3 indigenous uncrewed combat aerial vehicles. The institute also unveiled a domestically made drone inspired by the AeroVironment Switchblade 300, which Ukrainian forces have employed in the country’s war with Russia. Aeronautical Systems Research Division head Chi Li-pin (齊立平)
PARTIAL SUPPORT: Morris Chang said he agrees with the US’ goal to slow advances of China’s chip sector, but US policies that might boost chip prices perplex him Washington’s efforts to on-shore semiconductor production might lead to surges in chip prices and supply bottlenecks, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) founder Morris Chang (張忠謀) said yesterday. The 91-year-old industry veteran said he supports parts of Washington’s effort to slow China’s progress on advanced chip manufacturing. China is still six years behind Taiwan in making advanced chips, despite years-long efforts to catch up, Chang told a Commonwealth Magazine forum that he coheadlined with Tufts University assistant professor Chris Miller, an expert on the US-China rivalry’s effects on chip manufacturing. However, Chang said that other parts of the effort, particularly Washington’s on-shoring