The leader of North Korea, Kim Jong Un, has warned that “difficult” times are ahead and has even alluded to the ‘Arduous March’ of the 1990s, as the response to famine is known in the Asian country without precedents that he suffered.
The fall of the Soviet Union plunged North Korea into a period of economic decline in the 1990s that, coupled with meteorological disasters, caused severe shortages with as many as three million deaths attributed by some estimates.
During a meeting with leaders of the single party, Kim has warned the rest of the officials of the “obstacles and difficulties” that lie ahead, to the point that he has called them to prepare for “another more difficult ‘Arduous March'”, with the aim of ultimately alleviating the potential suffering of the population, according to South Korea’s Yonhap news agency.
“Our party does not expect sudden opportunities to pave the way for our people and fulfill the great goal and ideal of building socialism and communism,” the leader proclaimed in his speech, in which he claimed that he had called for be “fighters” in the face of what may be to come.
“Just as mothers always care about the life and growth of their children and guide them on the right path, the secretaries of the party cells should patiently educate and lead the members with affection and devotion,” he added.
North Korea has been further shielded since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, even though it has not officially recognized any contagion. Weighed down by sanctions in recent years, the country is going through a worrying humanitarian situation, according to the few organizations that have information.
The UN estimated at around 10 million undernourished people and the border closure would have only increased the prices of basic products. In addition, as Amnesty International states in its latest Human Rights report, the risk of food shortages was exacerbated after the rains and typhoons in August and September, which damaged infrastructure and agricultural fields.