Rodong Sinmun warns against accepting outside aid amid reports North Korea is on the brink of famine.
North Korea’s official newspapers have urged economic independence amid reports of food shortages, saying relying on outside help to deal with the food situation is like drinking “poisoned candy.” claims.
The comments, published in Rodong Sinmun on Wednesday, come days after South Korea announced that North Korea’s food crisis “appears to have worsened.” The US-based think tank 38 North warned last month that North Korea was “on the brink of famine,” reeling from floods, typhoons and global sanctions over its nuclear program.
But Rodong Sinmun, in a Wednesday commentary, warned against accepting economic aid from “imperialists” who used aid as a “trap to plunder and conquer” and criticized the internal politics of recipient countries. said to be interfering with
“It is a mistake to try to revitalize the economy by accepting and eating this poisoned candy,” the newspaper said.
The World Food Program (WFP), which has helped North Korea in the past, has not commented on recent reports of food shortages.
Over recent decades, North Korea has suffered severe food shortages, including famines in the 1990s, often as a result of natural disasters. Experts say the current food shortage caused by poor harvests in extreme weather conditions Worse due to lockdown and a sharp decline in trade with China due to border closures during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Most UN agencies and Western relief groups have left North Korea after the pandemic. China is now one of the few sources of foreign food aid.
South Korea’s Unification Minister Kwon Yong-se previously said North Korea had asked WFP to provide assistance, but no progress had been made due to disagreements over surveillance issues.
The Unification Ministry also said North Korea had effectively admitted worsening food situation in this country by calling for an “emergency” meeting of the ruling Labor Party on agriculture this month. The ministry said it was unusual for North Korea to convene such a special meeting.
Meanwhile, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency, citing unnamed sources, said about 700 inmates had been killed by famine and disease in the past two years at three rural prisons, including one in central North Korea’s Gyechon city. reported dead.
The Dong-A Ilbo also reported last week that North Korea had cut its daily food rations for its soldiers for the first time since 2000. The newspaper quoted an unidentified South Korean official.
The 38th North Korean Think Tank says North Korea’s food insecurity is “the worst since the famine of the 1990s”.
“Food availability is likely to be below the minimum in terms of human needs,” he said last month, adding that the country “is dealing with a complex humanitarian emergency with food insecurity at its core.” ” he added.