Humanitarian (Re)Engagement: Supporting North Korean Human Security in the Age of COVID-19
The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s (DPRK, or North Korea) COVID-19 response in early 2020 included shutting the country’s borders and requiring lengthy quarantine measures for goods. As of writing, the border remains largely closed with no known timeline for reopening. International humanitarian engagement, which began in the mid-1990s, has—with very few exceptions—ceased under these restrictions. Humanitarian aid remains an important avenue for supporting the health and wellbeing
of the North Korean people and for facilitating people-to-people dialogue.
This policy report explores the following questions, and makes concrete recommendations to multiple stakeholders (including the United States) on how to best enable effective humanitarian re-engagement: What will international humanitarian aid to the DPRK look like in the coming years?
• How can policy best support a return to humanitarian engagement?
• How can the international community, meaning states and humanitarian organizations,
best prepare for effective humanitarian engagement with North Korea in the age of
COVID-19? How can states best support non-state actors for re-engagement?
It is the responsibility of the North Korean state to care for its people, and many of the
challenges facing humanitarian agencies are born from the Kim regime’s decision-making.
However, this does not absolve the international community from doing what it can to
support North Korean health and wellbeing through aid. This brief examines these fac-
tors within the control of international actors, to prepare for when and if the DPRK allows
humanitarian engagement again
PublisherNational Committee on American Foreign Policy
SourceThe Future of the Korean Peninsula and Beyond: Next Generation Policy Perspectives