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Food shortages and floods have forced a desperate North Korea to ask for humanitarian aid from the United Nations for the first time. The unprecedented request could open diplomatic channels to the isolated, impoverished Communist country. "This is pretty amazing," says international affairs correspondent Marguerite Michaels. "Once North Korea lets relief aid people into the country, it allows informal inspection of what is going on there. Any kind of contact with North Korea -- for the international community and for them -- is a positive step. It's just too bad the reasons are tragic, but it's a step in the right direction." North Korea claimed that recent floods and torrential rains have affected over 5 million people and caused $15 billion in damage.