While the Trump Administration has long maintained that sanctions against North Korea don’t impact humanitarian aid, in practice the administration has banned all American aid groups from the country, shutting down aid efforts.
This comes as the administration looks to increase sanctions against North Korea, and to make sure that growing diplomatic progress between them and the rest of the world doesn’t end up easing their isolation. That means cutting humanitarian projects.
The State Department said that there are a “range of factors” behind the decision to ban all of these aid groups from North Korea, and that officially they’re being handled on a case-by-case basis. All US groups involved in such project, however, are getting the same answer, rejecting their travel.
Aid groups also reported confusion at the Treasury Department about the regulation and licensing of NGOs that had worked with North Korea’s government, including on aid projects. Cutting through the red tape is all but impossible at this point.