North Korea has asked the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization to help contain the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in the communist country, a news report said Wednesday.
North Korean officials met with their counterparts from the U.N. agency in Italy on Monday to discuss the issue, a day after Pyongyang made the request to the Rome-based U.N. body, the Washington-based Radio Free Asia said.
The U.N. agency plans to quickly send a team of its officials to North Korea to assess the situation, it said.
On Monday, South Korea offered to ship disinfectants and preventive medicine to the North to help it combat the outbreak of the disease -- the first since April 2011.
South Korea also proposed that the rival Koreas hold talks at a convenient time for the North to discuss Seoul's humanitarian assistance to the North.
The North kept silent on Seoul's aid offer for a third straight day Wednesday.
The North informed the World Organization for Animal Health last Wednesday that the animal disease had broken out at a pig farm in a suburb of Pyongyang on Jan. 8.
Last week, the North's official media also reported that the country has killed 2,900 pigs and buried about 360 pigs that died from the outbreak of the disease. The disease continues to spread due to a lack of vaccines, diagnostic means and disinfectants.
Foot-and-mouth disease is an infectious and sometimes fatal disease that affects cloven-hoofed animals such as pigs, cattle, deer and sheep. (Yonhap)