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North Korean leader orders “radical change” in agriculture

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North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has called for a “radical shift” in agricultural production amid fears of food shortages in the isolated country.

Kim stressed the importance of achieving the goals of transforming grain production and production to lay the “foundation for stable and sustainable development of agriculture” on the second day of a major party meeting, KCNA reported Tuesday.

He expressed the determination and will of the Party Central Committee to bring about a revolutionary transformation in agricultural production without fail, saying that nothing is impossible as long as there is a strong leadership system throughout the Party and there is unified strength. KCNA said.

Kim, the third generation of his clan to rule North Korea, made the remarks less than a week after South Korea’s Unification Ministry announced that its northern neighbor appeared to be facing a serious food situation and had received reports of deaths due to starvation.

In a report last month, the US think tank 38 North said North Korea’s 2020-2021 harvest cycle “may not have met minimum human needs” and that the country was now on the brink of famine.

“The evidence presented so far points to a significant deterioration in living conditions and a complex and ongoing humanitarian emergency with food insecurity at its core,” the report said.

Part of the long-term solution to North Korea’s chronic food insecurity lies in resolving the nuclear issue – which could lead to significant easing of economic sanctions, as well as a less militaristic and retaliatory stance, as well as a resumption of trade with the United States and its allies.

North Korea has often suffered from food shortages, including a devastating famine in the 1990s that killed between 240,000 and 3.5 million people. Analysts say the current food shortages have been caused by a combination of poor harvests and extreme weather conditions, as well as the closure and curtailment of trade with China during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Last week, North Korea’s official Rodong Sinmun newspaper called for greater economic independence, criticized accepting aid from “imperialists” and likened foreign aid to “poisoned candy”.

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