N. Korean Paper Warns Against 'Poisoned Candy' Amid Food Shortage
North Korea's state newspaper Rodong Sinmun warned citizens on Wednesday that consuming external food aid was akin to eating 'poisoned candy,' as the nation grapples with food shortages due to natural disasters, international sanctions, and cuts in trade with China during lockdowns....
- North Korea's state newspaper Rodong Sinmun warned citizens on Wednesday that consuming external food aid was akin to eating 'poisoned candy,' as the nation grapples with food shortages due to natural disasters, international sanctions, and cuts in trade with China during lockdowns.1
- The editorial also urged economic self-reliance, advising North Koreans against receiving aid from what it deems 'imperialists' using it as a 'trap to plunder and subjugate' its recipients and interfere with internal politics.2
- This comes as South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported, also on Wednesday, that some 700 detainees at three North Korean prisons had died from famine and other diseases over the past two years, while Seoul estimated in December that the North's crop production fell by 3.8% last year compared to 2021.3
- Kim Jong-un's government has reportedly acknowledged the worsening food situation by calling for a rare 'urgent' meeting of the ruling Workers Party on agriculture this month, and asking the World Food Program for help.4
- There has been growing concern that the situation on the ground could further worsen, leading to a famine comparable to the 1990s 'Arduous March,' which is estimated to have claimed up to a million lives.5
- Amid the food crisis, Pyongyang has continued missile tests, having launched two ballistic missiles off its east coast on Monday, which followed an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) launch into the sea off the coast of Japan two days prior.3
Sources: 1Reuters, 2Guardian, 3Sky news, 4Al Jazeera and 5BBC News.
- Establishment-critical narrative, as provided by The hill. North Korea has joined the nuclear weapons club, and there's little chance of turning back. Rather than living in denial, the West should focus now on ensuring the nuclear program is carried out safely and responsibly, and prioritizing human rights issues. Though nuclear war is frightening, nations such as India and Pakistan were able to build ICBMs while simultaneously joining the international community. It's time for Pyongyang to be invited to the table on the condition that it stops starving its people.
- Pro-establishment narrative, as provided by CNN. The West, particularly the US-South Korea military alliance, has a right to maintain its strict sanctions against and focus on the North's erratic ICBM tests. Though the Kim regime may see this as a threat and subsequently double down on its missile launches, that is no reason for the South or its allies to back down militarily. The North enjoys its stranglehold on its people, which is why it continues to oppress them and fend off Western intervention through nuclear threats.