Daily US Times: Kim Jong-un has urged North Korean citizens to prepare for hard times ahead, similar to deadly 90s famine, following warnings from human rights groups that the country faces dire economic instability and food shortages.
Mr Kim appeared at a party conference and compared the situation to a deadly famine in the 1990s.
North Korea has shut its borders due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Trade with China, North Korea’s economic lifeline, has come to a standstill.
This is on top of existing international economic sanctions over North Korea’s nuclear programme.
In a rare admission of looming hardship, Mr Kim on Thursday called on officials to “wage another, more difficult ‘Arduous March’ in order to relieve our people of the difficulty, even a little”.
North Korean officials use the term Arduous March to refer to the country’s struggle during a devastating famine in the 1990s, when the fall of the Soviet Union left North Korea without crucial aid.
Around 3m people are estimated to have died during that period.
Colin Zwirko, North Korea analyst at NK News, said: “It is not unusual for Kim Jong-un to talk about difficulties and hardship but this time the language is quite stark and that’s different.”
Earlier this week, the authoritarian North Korean leader had warned the country faced the “worst-ever situation” and “unprecedentedly numerous challenges”.
Foir months, there have been warnings that the people of North Korea are struggling.
Reports of the hardship of Noth Korean citizens appear to be coming especially from towns near the Chinese border, where smuggling would have been a huge earner for many.