Yahoo! News - AP -- North Koreans are facing a cold, hungry winterThis year, North Koreans face the prospect of their coldest, hungriest winter in years.
The United States and its allies have stopped supplying fuel oil ever since the North revealed that it has been running a secret nuclear program in violation of a 1994 accord with Washington.
And on Friday, the World Food Program said it will not be able to reach 2.9 million vulnerable North Koreans — barring immediate contributions from major donors such as the United States and Japan, which are increasingly unhappy about helping the recalcitrant Pyongyang regime.
North Korea's per capita income amounted to US$706 last year, one-thirteenth of South Korea's US$8,900, the office said. South Korea, a global trading power, reported US$291.5 billion in trade last year, 128 times the estimated trade volume of the North's US$2.27 billion.
"The North's real intention apparently is to bring the United States to a negotiating table," said Choi Wan-kyu, an analyst at Seoul's Institute for Far-Eastern Studies. "The pattern we see is that the direr the situation becomes, the tougher the North Korean rhetoric gets."