North Korea’s food situation ‘tense’ due to pandemic and typhoons, says Kim Jong Un

North Korea has not officially confirmed any COVID-19 cases, a claim questioned by Seoul officials.

Updated - June 16, 2021 11:45 am IST

Published - June 16, 2021 09:07 am IST - SEOUL

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has warned about possible food shortages and called for his people to brace for extended COVID-19 restrictions as he opened a major political conference to discuss national efforts to salvage a broken economy.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has warned about possible food shortages and called for his people to brace for extended COVID-19 restrictions as he opened a major political conference to discuss national efforts to salvage a broken economy.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has said the country’s economy improved this year but called for measures to tackle the “tense” food situation caused by the coronavirus pandemic and last year’s typhoons, state media said on Wednesday.

Mr. Kim chaired a plenary meeting of the ruling Workers’ Party’s central committee on Tuesday to review progress on major policies and craft measures to resolve economic issues, according to the official KCNA news agency.

The committee set goals and tasks to achieve its new five-year economic plan outlined at its previous session in February, including increased food and metal production.

Mr. Kim said the overall economy had improved in the first half of the year, with the total industrial output growing 25% from a year before, KCNA said.

But there was “a series of deviations” in the party’s efforts to implement the plans due to several obstacles, he said, singling out tight food supplies.

“The people’s food situation is now getting tense as the agricultural sector failed to fulfil its grain production plan due to the damage by typhoon last year,” Mr. Kim said.

The party vowed to direct all efforts to farming this year and discuss ways to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic, KCNA said.

Mr. Kim called for steps to minimise impacts of natural disasters as a lesson from last year and key to attain this year’s goal.

In January, Mr. Kim said his previous five-year economic plan had failed in almost every sector, amid chronic power and foods hortages exacerbated by sanctions, the pandemic and floods.

He also the protracted pandemic required the party to step up efforts to provide food, clothing and housing for the people, KCNA said.

North Korea has not officially confirmed any COVID-19 cases, a claim questioned by Seoul officials. But the reclusive country has imposed strict anti-virus measures including border closures and domestic travel restrictions.

COVAX, a global initiative for sharing COVID-19 vaccines with poor countries, has said it will provide nearly 2 million doses to North Korea but the shipment has been delayed amid protracted consultations.

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in

Comments

Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.