Kim Jong Un asks North Koreans to eat less until 2025 – ‘Telling us to starve to death

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Pyongyang has closed all borders and has forbidden all its regular imports of goods from China since the start of the pandemic in early 2020 to the extent that food is lacking in the country. Last April, authorities warned the population to prepare for an economic situation worse than the Arduous March, the Korean name for the 1994-1998 famine that killed millions, as many as ten percent of the country by some estimates.

Radio Free Asia (RFA) managed to contact two anonymous sources in North Korea who said the situation is “an emergency”.

“Two weeks ago, they told the neighbourhood watch unit meeting that our food emergency would continue until 2025,” a source from the northwestern border city of Sinuiju said.

“Authorities emphasized that the possibility of reopening customs between North Korea and China before 2025 was very slim.

“The food situation right now is already clearly an emergency, and the people are struggling with shortages.

“When the authorities tell them that they need to conserve and consume less food until 2025… they can do nothing but feel great despair.

“Distrust and resentment of the authorities are rampant among the residents because at the meeting they said we should reduce the amount of food we eat and tighten our belts more than ever.

“Some of the residents are saying that the situation right now is so serious they don’t know if they can even survive the coming winter.

“They say that telling us to endure hardship until 2025 is the same as telling us to starve to death.”

Another resident from Hoeyrong, the northeastern border city of 150,000 people also claims North Koreans are suspicious of Kim Jung Un’s track record regarding the pandemic.

“They said at the meeting that the coronavirus situation in other countries was so bad.

“The number of coronavirus-related deaths is rapidly increasing every day around the world.

“But the residents do not trust the authorities’ explanation, saying, ‘No matter how difficult the situation is, where on Earth could there be people going through more difficulty than we are?’

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“Criticism is coming out that the government’s emphasis on saving food might be because the Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un is not aware of how serious the food situation is.

“Residents are already struggling to get by and have already tightened their belts as much as possible.

“They resent the unrealistic demands of the authorities, asking how much tighter they could possibly tighten their belts.”

One of leader Kim Jong Un’s key messages in the eighth congress of the ruling Korean Workers’ Party in January was for the country to decrease dependence on imports and solve its own problems.

Humanitarian goods, as of today, can’t enter the country as they are considered as the importation of non-essential supplies.

The country is also experiencing international sanctions stemming from its nuclear program, which Tomás Ojea Quintana, an Argentinian lawyer and the UN’s special rapporteur on human rights in Kim Jung-Un’s country, urges the international community to review per the urgency of the food crisis.

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