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InvestmentsNorth Korea innovates amid food, economic woes By Reuters

North Korea innovates amid food, economic woes By Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A North Korean flag flies on a mast on the Permanent Mission of North Korea in Geneva October 2, 2014. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

By Josh Smith

SEOUL (Reuters) – From printing coupons as substitute money to breeding decorative black swans to eat, North Korea is being pressured to innovate to deal with economic woes and meals shortages as anti-pandemic border lockdowns drag on, stories recommend.

With the harvest coming to an finish, worldwide observers say North Korea’s meals and economic state of affairs is perilous, and there are indicators that it’s rising commerce and receiving giant shipments of humanitarian support by way of China.

South Korea’s intelligence company advised a closed-door parliamentary listening to on Thursday that North Korean chief Kim Jong Un had issued orders calling for each grain of rice to be secured and all-out efforts dedicated to farming, in keeping with lawmakers on the briefing.

Still, the spy company assessed that this harvest could also be higher than final 12 months’s due to sunnier climate, and it stated North Korea was taking steps to reopen its border with China and Russia in coming months, the lawmakers advised reporters.

North Korea has lengthy suffered from meals insecurity, with observers saying that mismanagement of the economic system is exacerbated by worldwide sanctions over its nuclear weapons, pure disasters, and now the COVID-19 pandemic, which prompted unprecedented border lockdowns there.

Kim Jong Un has acknowledged a “tense” meals state of affairs and apologised for sacrifices residents needed to make to stop a coronavirus outbreak.

But he additionally stated the economic system improved this 12 months, and North Korea denied a report from U.N. investigators this month that stated hundreds of its most weak folks risked hunger.

North Korea has not formally reported a single coronavirus case. U.N. companies stated North Korea has lately begun to permit in shipments of support, and numbers launched by China present a gradual improve in commerce.


According to varied media citing unidentified sources in North Korea, the central financial institution has been printing cash coupons price about $1 because of a scarcity of North Korean gained payments.

Rimjin-gang, a Japan-based web site operated by North Korean defectors, reported the coupons had been circulating since at the least August, partially as a result of paper and ink for official forex have been not coming in from China.

A scarcity of gained notes might also have been exacerbated by a authorities crackdown on using international forex, notably U.S. {dollars} and Chinese renminbi that had been extensively used earlier than, stated Seoul-based NK News, which stated it had corroborated the stories.

Reuters was not capable of independently affirm using the coupons.

This week North Korean state media promoted the consumption of black swan meat as a beneficial meals supply, and stated that newly developed industrial scale breeding would assist enhance folks’s lives.

“Black swan meat is delicious and has medicinal value,” the ruling celebration newspaper Rodong Sinmun stated on Monday.

Research into breeding the decorative birds for meals started in early 2019, and authorities have advised colleges, factories and companies to develop meals and lift fish and different animals to extend self-sufficiency, NK News reported.

“The solution is meant to address both the failure of large-scale farming to provide adequate food supplies to the whole country and more recent government COVID-19-related restrictions that have largely blocked food and other imports since early 2020,” wrote Colin Zwirko, NK News senior analytic correspondent.


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