North Korea’s food shortage is about to become fatal.
This week, a number of sources suggested that people might die from starvation, which raised questions about North Korea’s ongoing food shortage.
The nation is at its lowest point since the 1990s “Arduous March” famine, which resulted in widespread starvation and killed hundreds of thousands, or about 3-5% of the 20 million people who lived there at the time. Some experts say this is the case.
The food supply has now “dipped below the amount needed to satisfy minimum human needs,” according to trade data, satellite images, and assessments made by the United Nations and South Korean authorities, according to research analyst Lucas Rengifo-Keller of the Peterson Institute for International Economics.
That’s what rengifo Keller expressed “you would have hunger-related passings” regardless of whether food was conveyed similarly, which is almost unthinkable in North Korea, where the tip top and military come first.
Seoul recently stated that it believes starvation is causing deaths in some parts of the country, and officials in South Korea agree with that assessment. It is difficult to gather solid evidence to support those claims due to the country’s isolation, but few experts question its assessment.
Prior to the COVID pandemic, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization stated that nearly half of North Koreans were malnourished.
For three years of isolation and closed borders, the situation couldn’t have been any worse.
This week, Kim Jong Un, the leader of North Korea, called a four-day Workers’ Party meeting to talk about changing the country’s agricultural sector. He demanded a “fundamental transformation” of farming and state economic plans as well as increased state control over farming during the meeting. This is an indication of how frantic the circumstance has become.
However, a number of experts argue that the problems are solely the responsibility of Pyongyang. During the pandemic, Pyongyang increased its isolationism by erecting a second layer of fencing along its 300-kilometer border with China and limiting access to cross-border trade.
Additionally, it has used scarce resources to conduct a record number of missile tests over the past year.
“There’s been shoot on sight orders (at the border) that were put in place in August 2020… a blockade on travel and trade, which has included what very limited official trade (there was before),” Lina Yoon, a senior researcher at Human Rights Watch, stated. According to data from Chinese customs, China officially shipped nearly 56 million kilograms of wheat, also known as maslin flour, and 53,280 kilograms of cereals in the form of grains or flakes, to North Korea in
In any case, informal trade has been stifled as a result of Pyongyang’s clampdown, which Yoon notes is “one of the primary life savers of the business sectors inside North Korea where standard North Koreans purchase items.”
There have been virtually no instances of individuals bringing Chinese goods into the country in exchange for a bribe from a border guard since the borders were closed.
Experts contend that years of economic mismanagement are the cause of the problem, and Kim’s efforts to expand state control will only exacerbate the situation.
“They need to open their borders, restart trade, and bring these things in for agriculture to improve and for the people to eat. However, at the moment, they place isolation and repression above all else,” Yoon stated.
However, Kim is opposed to allowing the nefarious trade of the past to reappear in this dynasty-ruled nation, as Rengifo-Keller pointed out. It is not desired to have a thriving entrepreneurial class that threatens the power of the regime.
Then there are the missile tests, which Kim continues to be obsessed with, and the occasions when his neighbor provides him with assistance.
In an interview with CNN last week, South Korea’s Foreign Minister Park Jin stated, “The only way that North Korea can get out of this trouble is to come back to the dialogue table and accept our humanitarian offer to the North and make a better choice for the future.”
Prime Minister Han Duck-soo told CNN on Thursday that “our intelligence shows, because it’s clear that their policies are changing… the chairman (Kim Jong Un) would like to put a lot of pressure to make it state dictated, you know, supply of food to their people, which will not function.”
Seoul’s Ministry of Unification was quick to point out that Pyongyang still prioritizes its nuclear and missile programs over feeding its own people.
In a briefing last month, vice spokesperson Lee Hyo-jung stated, “According to local and international research institutions, if North Korea had used the expense of the missiles it launched last year on food supplies, it would have been enough to purchase over one million tons of food, believed to be more than enough to cover North Korea’s annual food shortage.”
Due to flooding and adverse weather, North Korea’s crop production was 4 percent lower than the previous year, according to the rural development agency in Seoul.
Rengifo-Keller is concerned that the “misguided approach to economic policy” of the regime and the resulting effects could have a devastating impact on the already-stricken population.
“This is a population that has been chronically malnourished for decades, has high rates of stunting, and all indications point to a deteriorating situation. It certainly wouldn’t take much to push the country into famine,”