Hunger and malnutrition have been a constant since communism took power in North Korea. But the situation has reportedly worsened considerably after an uncontrolled rise in prices. Under this scenario, leaders are pressuring their citizens to “reduce the amount of food they eat” at least until 2025, when they expect the crisis to ease.
Fox News reported that North Korea’s communist regime had told its people to “tighten their belts,” for at least three more years before its leader Kim Jong Un reopens the land border with China.
Since the pandemic began in 2020, North Korea decided to close its border with its main ally, China, causing severe problems for imports of raw materials, food, and essential products.
In the face of food shortages, coupled with a series of erratic economic policies, inflation levels have become uncontrollable, causing the consequent fall in citizens’ real wages, which were already extremely low on average.
“Some of the residents are saying that the situation at the moment is so dire that they don’t know if they will be able to survive the coming winter,” said one interviewee during a Radio Free Asia (RFA) program.
“The food situation at the moment is already clearly an emergency, and people are struggling with shortages. When the authorities tell them that they have to conserve and consume less food until 2025… they can do nothing but feel great despair,” added the source, who asked not to be identified for fear of reprisals from local security and intelligence forces.
The leader of the communist regime, Kim Jong himself, acknowledged in June this year the deep food crisis in the country and consequently urged officials to find ways to boost agricultural production, noting that “the people’s food situation is becoming tense.”
As mentioned earlier, the problem of hunger is not new to North Korea or any communist country. However, according to a United Nations report, the country’s pre-pandemic scenario was already extremely delicate, with 40% of its population malnourished and 70% of the country dependent on food aid.
The situation has been exacerbated by the uncontrollable rise in food prices that occurred mainly due to the shortage of Chinese imports. As a result, the condition of North Korean citizens is increasingly precarious.
According to the report written by the regime’s authorities, the regime continues to blame the economic sanctions imposed by the United States and the United Nations, but at no time have they made public any kind of self-criticism.
In other circumstances, the communist leaders have also blamed the situation on the climatic catastrophes suffered during the last months. Still, the interviewees assured that “the residents do not trust the explanation of the authorities.”
While North Korean citizens continue to suffer from hunger, Pyongyang has resumed investment in military development. Missile tests had recently begun again, most recently on Tuesday, Oct. 26, when North Korea fired two ballistic missiles into the Sea of Japan.