PYONGYANG, March 13 (Xinhua) -- The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) has urged the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria to reconsider, on humanitarian grounds, its decision to close its grants to the country, the state-run media reported Tuesday.
Mark Edington, head of the fund's grant management, said in a letter that it is closing its grants to the DPRK by June 30, citing the "unique operating environment" there.
Kim Hyong Hun, the DPRK's vice minister of public health, sent a letter to the fund on Saturday, expressing surprise over the agency's decision, which was announced last month, the Korean Central News Agency said.
The vice minister said the decision could not be seen as anything else but "the outcome of the pressure of some hostile forces," adding that the decision was made without any prior discussion with other international agencies operating in the DPRK.
The agency's decision was timed with the U.S. announcement of keeping "maximum pressure" on the DPRK, Kim said.