The United States says it is being forced to suspend food aid to North Korea because of Pyongyang's decision to stop allowing the United Nations to distribute the food.

State Department spokesman Adam Ereli said Thursday U.S. policy requires that international relief workers be able to monitor the distribution of its food. That safeguard will disappear when the U.N. World Food Program (WFP) stops distributing food in North Korea this month.

Mr. Ereli said it is a common practice for North Korea to "ignore the needs of its people" and "let them starve for inexplicable reasons."

North Korea announced in August that it no longer wanted U.N. food aid because it said domestic food production had improved.

The WFP said it would close all its food-processing plants in North Korea by the end of this month.

Some information for this report provided by AP and Reuters.