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Two months from crisis: North Korea to run out of food – Kim Jong-un on brink

3 min read

North Korea: Malnourishment crisis increases for population

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Following intense storm damage to the state’s produce industry, the price of staple foods skyrocketed across Kim Jong-un’s nation. Coffee is reportedly being sold for more than £70 a packet.

Last week, the Supreme leader addressed the crisis and admitted the situation was “getting tense”.

He said the state-run economy cannot feed its citizens.

Reports from the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) said North Korea had just two months left of supplies left.

The nation was said to be suffering a staggering 860,000 tonnes of supply shortages.

However, the Supreme Leader has refused to provide any details of the food shortage crisis.

In April, Kim warned citizens to be prepared for another “Arduous March” – the name given to the horrific food crisis in the 1990s.

Kim said: “I made up my mind to ask the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK) organisations at all levels, including its Central Committee and the cell secretaries of the entire party, to wage another more difficult ‘arduous March’ in order to relieve our people of the difficulty, even a little.”

According to CNN, people in Pyongyang are paying triple the regular price for potatoes, and up to £50 for some teabags.

This latest warning has sparked fears the country could face a repeat of the 1990s famines which, according to estimates, killed more than three million North Koreans.

During this time there was an increase in defection from North Korea which peaked at the end of the famine period.

The famine stemmed from a variety of factors.

Economic mismanagement and the loss of Soviet support caused food production and imports to decline rapidly.

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A series of floods and droughts exacerbated the crisis.

North Korea relies heavily on China for not only food but also its fertilizer and fuel.

However, during the coronavirus pandemic, North Korea sealed its borders to contain the spread of the disease and commerce with Beijing suffered.

A report by the Royal United Services Institute in London in September found around 150 Chinese businesses had a central role in facilitating North Korean access to international markets.

China was involved in around £2billion ($2.7billion) worth of shipments between 2014 and 2017, representing around 20 percent of the £10.6nillion ($13.9billion) value of North Korea’s trade during the same period.

The report found several co-located businesses which indicated the groups were front companies for North Korean interests.

It also found around 135 of the companies were still registered as active on Chinese corporate databases, the Financial Times reported.

The Supreme leader also introduced a draconian rule allowing guards to shoot anyone trying to cross the border.

To add to the already damaged economy, several border provinces were hit by three consecutive typhoons in August and September last year.

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