NORTH Korea looks to be facing its worst winter since the mass famines of the mid-1990s and China must stand ready to accept a flood of refugees into its northeast, international agencies are warning.

Pyongyang’s restrictions on foreign relief work, foreign food-aid cutbacks, destructive summer floods and the indirect effects of international sanctions in response to Pyongyang’s October 9 nuclear test are combining to threaten the North with widespread starvation, possibly within three months.

The International Crisis Group, in a report to be released today, warns that conditions that have developed since late last year “could be the perfect storm presaging return to famine and a new exodus to China”.

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