North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has asked his country to prepare for dialogue and confrontation with the United States. The Dictator has asked his countrymen to get ready to protect the dignity of the state but is North Korea even in the state to provoke the US. Pyongyang’s problems are on the rise, it is running out of food, it may be staring at a famine. Kim Jong Un may be unwell, there has been a lot of speculation after the North Korean dictator’s photos came out, they showed a seemingly thinner Kim.
The Hermit Kingdom is running out of food, in session at the plenary of North Korea’s ruling party all eyes are on North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, as he walks up to the podium Kim wastes no time in addressing the food crisis, he calls it ‘tense’. Admissions like these are rare in a country that habitually rides behind a facade which also makes admissions like these very scary. Hunger and malnutrition have long coexisted with authoritarianism. The UN world food program claims that atleast 10 million North Koreans are malnourished, the country’s total population is 25 million. Most families can manage only two meals a day, many can afford just corn. As of june 2020, 40 percent of North Korea needed humanitarian aid, one year on the crisis has worsened. North Korea shut its borders with China in early 2020, China is North Korea’s primary economic partner and it accounts for 90 percent of North Korea’s trade when Pyongyang shut that door, the bilateral trade fell by 81 percent. Between june and september, North Korea was also hit by a severe flood. The result of the twin disaster looks horrible. North Korea’s GDP is 8.5 percent is estimated to have plummeted by in 2020 unlike the rest of the world, Pyongyang failed to rebound.
Earlier this year, Kim asked his countrymen to brace for an arduous march. The reference was to the famine of the mid 1990s where almost 3 million people died of starvation. This is clearly history repeating itself, North Korea has obviously run out of its imports from China. It has also refused international help and has advocated a stricter lockdown instead. North Korea has not publicly signed any vaccine deals, it has been questioning vaccine efficacy while clandestinely importing vaccine from China. Reports say vaccines are being loaded onto Chinese refrigerated vehicles and secretly moved to the North Korea city of Siniju who are they for reports say North Korean civilians have not been told about a global vaccine rollout. Vaccines from the Gavi Covax alliance are yet to land in Pyongyang. The situation in the hermit kingdom is dire to say the least. It becomes more desperate when you consider the dictator’s undisclosed health problems.
Kim has clearly lost a lot of weight, he is believed to be five foot and seven inches tall. South Korean intelligence claims Kim weighs around 140 kilos, he has been gaining six to seven kilograms in a year since ascending the throne. There is a clear BMI mismatch and his family’s health history isn’t flattering. Both Kim’s father and grandfather died of heart ailments. Kim Jong Un II disappeared for a brief while in 2020, only to return limping with a walking stick. Kim’s weight loss has triggered speculation, North Korean watchers have gone to extent of siting the difference in the length of watch strap.