North Korea’s Kim Calls Food Situation ‘Tense’

North Korea’s Kim Calls Food Situation ‘Tense’

Kim’s admission about food shortages speaks of a problem that can’t be glossed over.

Raghavan Mayur
  • Kim claimed that the economy had improved this year, with industrial production up 25 percent from a year earlier, and he generally struck a more upbeat tone than in February, when he admitted that the country’s economic plan had “failed tremendously.”
  • Last year, North Korea faced its worst slump in more than two decades, experts say, largely due to the self-imposed closure of the border with China, a measure designed to keep the coronavirus pandemic at bay.
  • There were reports of acute power cuts and factory closures, with coal and fertilizer production hit by electricity shortages and a lack of spare parts.
  • Experts are not expecting widespread famine this year. They say food shortages are not going to fatally undermine the regime or force Kim to the negotiating table with the United States.
  • Kim blamed nature rather than a desperately inefficient farming sector and the border closure, as the plenum agreed to direct “all efforts to farming this year.”

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