North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, speaking at a party conference, appealed to the citizens of his country to prepare for the “Difficult March”, according to the BBC.
The leader compares the current situation with the period of the 1990s, when, according to various sources, from 600,000 to 2 million North Koreans died of hunger in the country. The term “Difficult March” appeared precisely in those days, the DPRK officials use it as a designation of famine in that difficult period, writes newsru.com.
Due to the pandemic, North Korea has closed its borders with China, which plays a key role in the country’s economy. Alarming signals come from areas adjacent to the border with the PRC – large-scale smuggling that has been feeding their residents for years has been severely suppressed due to the coronavirus. Sanctions have become an equally important factor in the rapid deterioration of the economic situation.
Human Rights Watch reports that food from China has not been reaching North Korea for almost 2 months. Prices have not just jumped up, they are going through the roof. For example, the cost of 1 kg of corn, a traditional food for rural residents, exceeded the monthly salary of most of them.
The UN Special Representative reports on a “serious food crisis” and reports of starvation in the DPRK. Two years ago, the organization drew the attention of the world community to the existing problem and the threat of famine due to a large-scale drought for 10 million North Koreans.