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N. Korea reduces food rations to soldiers for first time since 2000

N. Korea reduces food rations to soldiers for first time since 2000

Posted February. 15, 2023 07:33,   

Updated February. 15, 2023 07:33


North Korea has reportedly reduced its daily food rations per soldier recently from the previous 620 grams to 580 grams. A South Korean high-ranking government official said in a phone interview with the Dong-A Ilbo on Tuesday that it is the first time since 2000 that North Korea lowered its food rationing to the military and that curtailing food rations even to its soldiers, which is the regime's priority group, suggests that the food shortage situation there may be even more severe than many expect. In some key cities, residents are reportedly pressured to donate so-called "patriotic rice" every two or three days for military provisions reserves.

According to The Dong-A Ilbo's study, the South Korean government analyzed a large amount of intelligence from the North and figured out such food rationing reduction took place. Generally, North Korea has provided ordinary residents with a daily grain rationing of approximately 550 grams and 590 grams on average. However, if soldiers are getting 580 grams of food daily, that means the level of food rationing to the military has decreased to that of a regular citizen. The food rationing system in North Korea is based on a hierarchical class structure ranging from one to nine, with those in Class with a larger number receiving more ration. Soldiers are known to fall mostly under Class 3 at least. GS&J economist Kwon Tae-jin specializing in North Korean agriculture noted that even the military provisions reserved for wars, which the regime usually keeps at the level of at least one million tons, may be running out.

Other sources inside the South Korean government said that the number of military drills conducted by the North in 2022 has declined by 10 to 20% compared to 2021. Reportedly, North Korean air forces rarely conduct nighttime training due to various reasons, including energy shortage.

Jin-Woo Shin niceshin@donga.com · Hyo-Ju Son hjson@donga.com