North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has come up with a strategy as the rogue nation faces a food shortage crisis which is likely to affect it for at least the next three years.
Experts believe the country is facing a food shortage with some suggestions it is receiving some humanitarian aid from China.
North Korea has long suffered from food insecurity, with observers saying that government mismanagement of the economy is exacerbated by international sanctions, natural disasters, and now the Covid-19 pandemic, which prompted unprecedented border lockdowns there.
People urged to eat less to combat 'emergency' situation
Unnamed sources in the rogue nation have told Radio Free Asia residents are being told to eat less leading to them feeling “great despair”.
“The food situation right now is already clearly an emergency, and the people are struggling with shortages. When the authorities tell them that they need to conserve and consume less food until 2025,” they said.
Earlier this month there were signs that North Korea was accepting international aid, United Nations agencies said some shipments had entered the country and were now in quarantine in North Korean ports.
Health and nutrition supplies from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and medical supplies to support anti-pandemic work from the World Health Organisation were among the aid that had reached North Korea.
The aid shipments have been pending for a long time, and don't likely signal a broader opening of borders as North Korea has been letting in other goods for months, Chad O'Carroll, CEO of the Seoul-based Korea Risk Group, which monitors North Korea, said.
"North Korea has been letting other goods into the country since May, including large volumes of what appears to be humanitarian assistance from China," he said.
With North Koreans being asked to tighten their belts, their leader appears to have already done so with Mr Kim taking on a slimmer appearance in recent times.
University of Sydney’s Professor Justin Hastings told Yahoo News Australia in September it could be to maintain a sustainable image.
“I would also imagine that being morbidly obese does not play well when Kim Jong-un has proclaimed recently that North Korea is going through a second Arduous March (a period of famine) brought on by the border closures due to Covid,” he said.
The exact reasons of how or why Mr Kim has lost weight remain unknown.
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