from our reporter
North Korea under Kim Jong Un in Beijing missed the great opportunity to strike a deal with Donald Trump and now, which Joe Biden almost ignored, has also lost the battle of wheat. The Marshal, speaking to the Central Committee of the Labor Party, admitted that the food situation of the people was tense and worsening, and the agricultural sector had failed to produce grain. The hurricanes that hit the country last year after an unusual drought and measures against the epidemic, which forced the border with China to close, choking the only viable trade route, will be to blame.
Kim’s speech reflects analyzes made abroad of Pyongyang’s difficulties. According to the FAO, if the crop deficit is not filled with imports and international aid, the population will face a serious food crisis between August and October. In 2020, a million tons of supplies were lost: This means North Koreans have 445 fewer calories per day than the 2,100 recommended by the United Nations. This year, 1.35 million tons of food will be lost, according to the South Korean agency that monitors North Korea.
Last April, Kim mentioned the need to embark on an arduous march to alleviate the conditions of the masses. This expression entered the language of the regime in the 1990s, when a famine killed hundreds of thousands of people. The current crisis does not seem to be comparable to that of the time, but humanitarian organizations warn 10 out of 25 million North Koreans suffer from chronic malnutrition.
Kim had big economic plans (as well as missiles) when he inherited power from his father in 2011: I announced that our people would no longer have to tighten their belts. Ten years later, he admitted that the economic development plan It underperformed in almost all sectors.
The most severe blow, in addition to flooding in the fields, was on its own: North Korea, closing the border with China due to the epidemic, He abandoned economic exchange with the outside world, It was already reduced due to sanctions issued in 2016 and 2017 to punish the regime that continued to launch missiles and conduct nuclear tests. In 2015, trade with China was worth $6 billion annually; In 2019, it fell to 2.8 billion, and last year it fell to 540 million. Recovery cannot be expected, as Kim said coronavirus isolation must continue (Obviously, he doesn’t even trust Beijing’s ongoing vaccination campaign.)
Propaganda calls on residents to recycle any material, from plastic to cloth, paper and glass. There is also a shortage of chemical fertilizers for the fields, and, according to Radio Free Asia, farmers have been ordered to supply state farms with two liters of urine per day. They may be just rumours, but the regime announced in May that hundreds of orphaned teens had volunteered to work in the mines and fields. And repay even the millionth part of the love the party gave them.
Andrei Lankov, a Seoul-based Russian professor and expert on North Korea issues, says Kim is returning to central planning on the old Soviet model of reviving the agricultural sector. The history of the Soviet Union (and North Korea under his grandfather and father) taught that the system of state-owned collective farms, which brought crops to storage, did not push the peasants to work better and more difficult. Lankoff notes: The peasants of the Soviet Union said: The party pretends to pay us, and we pretend to work.
Jun 16 2021 (change on Jun 16, 2021 | 20:55)
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