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    » 08/19/2010, 00.00

    NORTH KOREA

    Pyongyang on its knees: only potatoes to stave off famine



    The capital's population had grown accustomed to a slightly better diet compared to the rest of the country. But the sanctions, the five-year plans and currency reform are beginning to be felt. And the population shows signs of timid protests against the regime.

    Seoul (AsiaNews) - The population of Pyongyang, the capital of the Stalinist regime of North Korea, is increasingly frustrated because of the price of basic necessities and lack of basic foods in stores, according to former residents, who have fled to South Korea.  They point the finger at the last year’s disastrous currency reform and against the five years economic plan, which the regime insists on continuing.

    According to one source, "market prices continue to rise. The population is angry, and complains of these factors. According to some estimates, 60% of the population is dissatisfied with the authorities". On the other hand the inhabitants of Pyongyang, given its proximity to political power, were used to having better access to goods passing through the country: now they have to survive on potatoes.

    The same source, who went as far as China in search of food, continues: "Life just won’t return to normal, food distribution no longer works, and the complaints this time are different from what has been heard in the past. In July and August, only potatoes were distributed to workers and other residents of Pyongyang, we are beginning to see real protests against the government".

    A further sign of the disaster is ongoing by the privileged classes of society, such as members of the military and national security agencies, which receive limited rations as the rest of citizenship. Until recently, however, their diet was comparable to that of an Eastern European capital in the days of communism in.

    North Korea has lived for at least two decades, an untenable food situation. Based on the principle of Juche - the self-sustainability preached by the first dictator Kim Il Sung - the government has pursued economic projects that have proven unsuccessful.

    Added to this are the heavy penalties imposed by the international community after Pyongyang’s announcement it was developing a nuclear arsenal, which have in fact eliminated all foreign goods from the market, and the terrible currency reform ordered by the "Dear Leader" Kim Jong-il last December.

    To prevent further defections in the high military ranks, in fact, the dictator has removed two zeros from the currency, eliminating savings and investments. In this way he has forced into poverty even the wretched middle class in the country, throwing it into panic. "Now - says the source - the effect of all this is hitting the capital. But without food, patriotism will not last long".  

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    See also

    15/04/2010 NORTH KOREA
    Fugitive from North: Regime uses atomic bomb to blackmail
    Former Secretary of the Workers Party of North Korea, Hwang Jang-yop, escaped from North Korea. In an interview, he says that Kim Jong-il uses nuclear power to blackmail the world, but has no intention of using it. He adds: "The dictator uses 20% of the national budget for himself, while 50% goes to the military. Which is why they will never fall. "

    09/12/2009 NORTH KOREA
    Pyongyang, people protest against the poverty generated by the new currency
    The sudden decision to change currency has destroyed the savings of the entire population, which for the first time publically demonstrates against a decree taken by the regime of Kim Jong-il.

    14/03/2007 NORTH KOREA - UN
    UN official: United Nations, an ATM for Kim Jong-il
    An anonymous director of the United Nations Development Programme, which interrupted its North Korean operations in March, confirms he gave the dictator 150 million dollars, which have vanished into thin air

    01/06/2009 KOREA
    Pyongyang ready to test launch another inter-continental missile
    The launch will take place within the next two weeks from the eastern military base Musudan-ri. Members of ASEAN and South Korea issue a joint communiqué urging the North to “avoid ulterior provocation”. The communist regime orders a stop to shipping in the Yellow Sea.

    17/04/2008 NORTH KOREA
    Population crushed by famine, but the regime saves the statues of the Kims
    The World Food Programme of the UN raises the alarm: 6.5 million North Koreans risk dying of hunger. The regime responds with enormous waste devoted to the cult of personality of the two dictators: 890 million dollars to save the statues of Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il in case of attack.



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