North Korean leader Kim Jong-un warned of a possible food shortage and urged the country to prepare for an extension in coronavirus restrictions, at the opening of a major political conference on national efforts to save a broken economy.
Kim also asked for conversations about how the country should manage the “current international situation”the ruling Korean Central News Agency reported Wednesday, which did not collect specific comments from Kim about the United States or South Korea.
Until now, North Korea has ignored requests from its allies to resume nuclear negotiations, which have been stagnant for two years following the lack of results from Kim’s ambitious summits with former US President Donald Trump. The process was derailed by disagreements over how to trade relief from suffocating US-led sanctions for North Korean denuclearization.
The North Korean economy has deteriorated during border closures triggered by the pandemic, which reduced trade with China to a minimum. In addition, devastating typhoons and floods decimated crops last summer.
A photo from February and another from June of Kim fuel rumors about her health. AP Photo
Observers monitoring the situation in North Korea are still have seen no sign of a mass famine or major instability, but some analysts believe conditions could be lining up for a perfect storm to hit the currency and food markets and trigger panic among the population.
The Korea Development Institute, a South Korean government think tank, said last month that North Korea could experience a food shortage of around a million tons this year.
At the plenary session of the Workers’ Party Central Committee that began Tuesday, Kim urged officials to find ways to boost agricultural production, saying the food situation in the country “It’s getting tense now.”
Kim called for actions to minimize the impact of such natural disasters, saying that ensuring a good harvest it is the “top priority”.
The meeting also discussed the prolonged coronavirus pandemic, according to KCNA.
According to statements cited by state media, Kim also “outlined the tasks for the state to maintain its perfect anti-epidemic status,” which suggested that North Korea would keep your measurements quarantine despite the blow to its economy.
There is widespread skepticism among experts towards North Korea’s claims that it has not had a single case of COVID-19. given its weak sanitary infrastructure and its porous border with China, which is its main ally and a crucial economic partner.
Source AP and AFP