North Korea faces food shortages, Kim Jong-un touts domestic agenda

Woman watching Kim Jong-un on TV JUNG YEON-JE/​​AFP via Getty Images

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un delivered a speech at a meeting of the Workers’ Party of Korea during his 10 years in power. According to an official media summary released on Saturday, he avoided belligerent remarks. instead, Reuters Report, The dictator focuses on domestic and wallet issues.

Kim broke the precedent and only vaguely hinted at continuing tensions with South Korea and the United States. However, he did promise to “make fundamental progress in solving the people’s food and clothing problems and housing problems.”

According to reports, North Korea, which has always been isolated from the world, closed its borders in January 2020 to prevent the spread of COVID-19. British Broadcasting CorporationThe official media claimed that North Korea had zero virus cases, but most outside observers doubted this claim.

This self-isolation leads to food shortages.NPR Report “North Korea’s trade with its largest trading partner and economic pipeline, China, shrank by about 80% in 2020, and then plunged again by two-thirds in the first nine months of last year.” According to Weekly newspaperBy June 2021, the price of bananas purchased by North Koreans will exceed $20 per pound.

Chad O’Carroll, founder of Seoul-based North Korean analytics company and news dedicated service NK News, Tweet This shift shows that “North Korea is more or less in the survival mode of 2022-and does not know what to do: its current foreign policy.”

In addition to shutting out much-needed food, this authoritarian country’s strengthening of border security and strict restrictions on internal movement have also kept people inside. According to statistics, the number of defectors in South Korea has dropped from more than 1,000 in 2019 to only 229 in 2020. Strategy and International Research Center. That number Continue to decrease 2021.

Defection from South Korea to North Korea is much rarer, but on New Year’s Day, a South Korean man did manage to enter North Korea. Reuters Report. The South Korean military called a special hotline and asked the man not to be harmed, but could not confirm whether he was still alive.

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