North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has warned his people about possible food shortages. The state news agency KCNA reported this on Wednesday. At the same time, photos fuel speculation about his own health. Kim Jong-un is clearly emaciated in his face.
At the beginning of a multi-day meeting of the Workers’ Party of Korea Central Committee, Kim warned that “the people’s food situation is now becoming tense”. According to him, one of the reasons for this is the failed grain harvest as a result of a typhoon.
The North Korean leader called on members of the Central Committee to solve the problem. A good harvest is “the militant task that our party and the state must perform with the highest priority,” Kim said. It is the only way to provide people with a stable life and ensure the socialist construction of the country, he added. Kim Jong-un also warned in April of famine as in the 1990s.
Remarkably, in photos circulated by North Korean state media, the 37-year-old leader is noticeably thinner in his face than in photos taken in early February. That fuels speculation about Kim Jong-un’s health. South Korean media previously reported that Kim is struggling with his health after undergoing medical treatment for cardiovascular disease.
North Korea has been dependent on food aid from abroad for years, not only due to natural disasters but also through mismanagement of its own. The South Korean government estimates that the neighbouring country will face a shortage of 1.2 to 1.3 million tons of food this year to feed the population partially.
Last year, flooding and storm damage and the coronavirus outbreak had serious consequences for the strictly isolated dictatorship. Pyongyang closed its borders early due to the pandemic, which had a major impact on foreign trade.