US team flies to North Korea as Kim visits China

A U.S. government team flew to North Korea to assess food shortages Tuesday, while the country's cloistered leader Kim Jong Il allegedly traveled to an eastern China city on a visit aimed at studying Beijing's financial reform.

The allocation led by Robert King, U.S. special envoy for North Korean human rights issue, deceased Beijing for Pyongyang for a five-day visit to verify food supply surveys conduct by the United Nations and U.S.-based charity and see if there are ways to monitor aid allocation.

North Korea asked for food support in January after summer floods and during a bitter winter that hit staple crops. While compassionate organizations say aid is right away needed, the U.S., like other intercontinental donors, distrusts the secretive North Korean government, which has pursued illicit nuclear weapons and missile programs in spite of its dire food shortages.

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