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N Korea at crossroads

Foreign diplomats flee North Korea amid food and drug shortages

Pyongyang's yearlong border closure with China raises starvation fears

Russian diplomats and family members use a hand-pushed rail trolley to leave North Korea. (Photo from Russian foreign ministry's Telegram account)   © Kyodo

SEOUL -- Diplomats and humanitarian group workers stationed in North Korea are leaving in droves due to acute shortages of food, medical supplies and other essentials, as a yearlong lockdown of the border with China plunges the isolated country's economy into chaos.

The Russian Embassy in Pyongyang reported a "collective exit" of diplomatic missions from North Korea in a Facebook post Thursday. The representative offices for 12 countries including the U.K., Venezuela, Brazil and Germany are locked, and foreign staffers at international humanitarian organizations have all left the country, according to the post.

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