North Koreans experienced one of the worst famines in history during the '90s. Termed as “arduous march” by the leadership, the crisis decimated as many as 3.5 million people over the course of four years.
It was a tumultuous period, brought on by economic mismanagement, natural disasters, the collapse of the Soviet bloc and the consequent loss of aid, made worse with funds spend on luxury of the military. However, when Kim Jong-un came to power in 2012, he promised the nation it would “never have to tighten their belts again.” In fact, he recently declared of 2016 as a “golden age” during which they would become “a thriving nation.”
Well, it seems the dictator has changed his tune in face of the new sanctions imposed by the United Nations after the hermit kingdom’s weapon tests earlier in the year.
“The road to revolution is long and arduous,” an editorial in the state-run Rodong Sinmun newspaper said Monday, according to The Telegraph. “We may have to go on an arduous march, during which we will have to chew the roots of plants once again.”
The U.N. Security Council approved the sanctions, which appear to be the most severe in almost 20 years, after Pyongyang’s recent long-range missile launch banned by Security Council resolutions.
The sanctions, reportedly, will further restrict the country’s international trade, making it harder for the financially struggling country to make the money it needs to fund its weapons programs. The sanctions also prohibit U.N. members from importing two key exports for the reclusive state: coal and iron.
North Korean authorities have ordered each citizen to provide 1 kg of rice to the state’s warehouses every month, while farmers are being forced to “donate” additional supplies from their crops to the military, according to South Korean newspaper Chosun Ilbo.
“It’s an old pattern of telling the population to endure short-term hardship for the promise of larger benefits over the long term,” Daniel Pinkston, a lecturer at Troy University in Seoul, told the Los Angeles Times. “They’re betting that the harm of the sanctions won’t last and ultimately their nuclear weapons will make the country stronger.”
While the country is hoarding food for fear of famine ahead, its supreme leader Kim Jong-un is visiting up-scale shopping malls and giving field guidance at the newly built Mirae Shop and Health Complex.