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Provocations Cannot Solve NK’s Food Shortages

Posted June. 16, 2010 13:24,   


The North Korean leadership insists on maintaining a closed society but cannot completely gag the mouths of its 24 million people. Defectors, North Korean visitors to China, and valiant people in the Stalinist country are describing the miserable existence in the North to the outside world. Pyongyang’s suspension of food supply as leaked by Seoul-based NGO Good Friends is enough to confirm that food shortages there have grown extremely bad this year.

A North Korean official said Saturday, “We can no longer take any action due to worsened food conditions. Residents who`ve relied on food rations must find their own food and related agencies including the (Workers’) Party, Cabinet and the State Security Department must stand on their own feet in each division.” This is a country’s confession of giving up its responsibility. North Korean leader Kim Jong Il announced that he will build a powerful nation by 2012, but Pyongyang’s extreme measure reflects the gravity of the North`s situation. Good Neighbors said Workers’ Party leaders are reportedly agitated and call the abandonment a “great incident.”

Since this year, the North Korean people are dying of starvation across the nation, including in Sinuiju and Chongjin. The North’s currency revaluation at the end of last year increased the people’s economic burden. Pyongyang took an emergency measure in allowing closed markets to be reopened in January. Had this measure been proven effective to overcome the crisis, however, the North would not have had a food crisis in the first place.

The food shortage in the impoverished country is an estimated 1.1 million tons. To avoid massive deaths due to famine, external assistance is essential. To do so, North Korea must give up its anachronistic policy of confrontation that blames its internal instability on the outside world. Pyongyang is on a diplomatic offensive, denying the torpedo attack on the South Korean naval vessel Cheonan. The international community knows the truth behind the sinking and is unlikely to be deceived by the North’s flagrant lie. The North Korean government`s belligerence will only hinder humanitarian assistance from South Korea, which is thinking of the poor North Korean people, and the international community.

Good Neighbors said the North ordered the collection of saws and knives longer than nine centimeters from homes because it considers them usable as weapons. Pyongyang seems to be unstable since it believes its people will grow more agitated amid their worsening economic condition. The New York Times said North Koreans oppose their leadership and blast their government as a thief in public places. The more the Kim Jong Il government growls at the outside world and shirks its basic responsibility of feeding its people, the sooner the collapse of the communist regime will come.