For some time now, the North Korean government has acknowledged the continuing food shortages in the country, most recently in a statement by Kim Jong Un in February (Reuters, 27 February 2023). Reports have emerged that the country has now approached the World Food Program (WFP) for help (Wall Street Journal, 2 March 2023).
World Watch Research analyst Thomas Muller comments: “Until now, the only solution being propagated by the North Korean leadership to combat the shortages was a reform of the agricultural sector and a call for stronger ruling party control (NK News, 2 March 2023). If this is all that can be suggested, it is very doubtful whether the problems surrounding the current shortages can be overcome. Although the WFP has been contacted, a first necessary step would be to grant outside experts access to the country in order to assess the situation. As long as the government’s response is guided purely by ideology and an ever stronger emphasis on party control, the population’s situation will not improve. This is also an illustration of the situation for Christians in the country: Not only do they suffer from the same food crisis, they are also a prime target in the ruling party’s ongoing struggle for control.”