In light of another famine, in 2008, the United States pledged to ship 500,000 tons of grain to North Korea. The program was cut short a year later after less than a third of the grain had been distributed, reports The New York Times. The early termination was due largely to disputes over the transparency of food distribution within North Korea, as well as the country’s nuclear arms program.
Washington offered to ship less than the remaining grain, and instead focused on sending nutritional supplements for children. This tactic was meant to ensure US aid was going to the most vulnerable populations in North Korea, and not siphoned off for the military. These changes raised the ire of leaders in Pyongyang who felt the US was not working to build trust with the country, something widely seen as a precondition for making the food-for-nuclear-suspension deal happen, reports the Associated Press.