MILAN -- The U.N. food agency says water scarcity has caused a drop in North Korea's food production for the first time since 2010, threatening to worsen food security in the reclusive nation.
The Rome-based Food and Agriculture Organization said Wednesday that food production last year was estimated at 5.4 million tons, down 9 percent from 5.9 million tons in 2014. That includes production of cereals, soybeans and potatoes.
As a result, the country will need to import 694,000 tons of food -- just 300,000 tons of which is expected to be covered by government imports. FAO said that leaves the widest gap since 2011-2012.
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It said food security is expected to deteriorate from last year "when most households were already estimated to have poor or borderline food consumption levels."
President Obama is back at the White House after a week in the Middle East and Europe. During his trip, "CBS This Morning" co-host Charlie Rose spoke with the president in Germany for a wide-ranging interview.
In regards to North Korea, Mr. Obama described the regime as "a massive challenge."
"Our first priority is to protect the American people and our allies, the Republic of Korea, Japan, that are vulnerable to the provocative actions that North Korea is engaging in," Mr. Obama said.
He said North Korea is "erratic enough" and the country's leader, Kim Jong Un, is "irresponsible enough that we don't want them getting close."
"But it's not something that lends itself to an easy solution," Mr. Obama said. "We could, obviously, destroy North Korea with our arsenals. But aside from the humanitarian costs of that, they are right next door to our vital ally, Republic of Korea."
Mr. Obama explained how the U.S. has been preparing to fend off threats from North Korea.
"One of the things that we have been doing is spending a lot more time positioning our missile defense systems, so that even as we try to resolve the underlying problem of nuclear development inside of North Korea, we're also setting up a shield that can at least block the relatively low-level threats that they're posing right now," Mr. Obama said.