It wasn’t an “everything is fine, no worries at all” kind of statement.
North Korea may have an impending food crisis – because when the country’s leader, Kim Jong-un, brings it up there has to be something behind his concerns.
Kim spoke Tuesday in front of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party to assess the state of affairs and said fixing the possible food problem was paramount, according to the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).
“In particular, the people’s food situation is now getting tense as the agricultural sector failed to fulfill its grain production” after flood damage, Kim was quoted as saying in the meeting. “It is essential for the whole Party and state to concentrate on farming.”
Kim claimed the economy had improved overall in the first half of the year, citing an increase in total industrial output of 25 percent, but said there had been “a series of deviations” in the party’s efforts to implement economic growth.
As North Korea’s economic troubles are likely continuing, Kim hasn’t sounded any alarms – but it was a rare occasion to find him addressing the food shortage issue.
KCNA reported that Kim tied the stuttering economic growth to the problems with current food supplies – and the problems are real.
South Korean reporters have said the cost of rice has risen rapidly the past few weeks, and supplies of other essentials such as medicine are running out.
“This year, the North’s food shortage is of a scale that it cannot handle on its own,” said Kwon Tae-jin, the author of the Korea Development Institute report, said in a New York Times story.
Kim also referenced the country’s fight against COVID-19. According to Kim, North Korea still hasn’t had even one coronavirus infection (experts have long questioned that statement).