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North Korea has reduced food rations to its soldiers for the first time in more than two decades as the Hermit Kingdom descends into a possible food crisis, officials said this week.
South Korea’s unification ministry, which oversees relations with their northern neighbors, said North Korea’s food situation “seems to have deteriorated.”
FILE: A North Korean boy holds a spade in a corn field in area damaged by floods and typhoons in the Soksa-Ri collective farm in the South Hwanghae province. (REUTERS/Damir Sagolj/File Photo)
The ministry noted a Feb. 6 report from North Korea’s state news agency KCNA about plans for an “urgent” ruling party meeting on agriculture. Such special meetings are rare, according to the South’s ministry.
Meanwhile, DongA Ilbo, a South Korean newspaper, reported Wednesday that the North has reduced daily food rations to its soldiers for the first time since 2000.
While the report could not be 100% confirmed, South Korea’s unification ministry said it and other agencies were monitoring the situation.
FILE – In this Nov. 15, 2020, file photo provided by the North Korean government, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un attends a meeting of the ruling Workers’ Party Politburo in Pyongyang, North Korea. Kim ordered at least two people executed, banned fishing at sea and locked down capital Pyongyang as part of frantic efforts to guard against the coronavirus and its economic damage, South Korea’s spy agency told lawmakers Friday, Nov. 27, 2020.(Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP, File) (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP, File)
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The report comes after the U.S.-based monitoring group 38 North said last north that North Korea’s food availability has “likely fallen below the bare minimum with regard to human needs.”
North Korea is no stranger to serious food shortages, often caused by natural disasters such as floods damaging harvests. The country suffered one of its worst famines between 1994 and 1998 when hundreds of thousands of people lost their lives.
In this June 29 photo provided by the North Korean government, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un speaks during a Politburo meeting of the ruling Workers’ Party in Pyongyang, North Korea. (AP/Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service)
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The North is under crushing international sanctions for its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile program. In recent years what little trade it had was virtually cut off by self-imposed lockdowns to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Reuters contributed to this report.
Bradford Betz is a Fox News Digital breaking reporter covering crime, political issues, and much more.