North Korea’s economic situation is reportedly so dire that citizens are struggling for basic needs, including food. One expert said there are even credible reports of members of the country’s upper class selling off valuables at the Chinese border.

Michael Madden, a North Korean expert working with the Stimson Center and the research group 38 North, told Deutsche Welle in a story published on Thursday that elites have sold assets like gold and aluminum at the border. He told the broadcaster, “These are elite people looking out for their futures.”

In January 2020, North Korea was one of the first countries close all its borders—including the one it shares with China—when news first broke of COVID-19. The border remain closed, even though new infections are reportedly drastically low in China now.

Multiple sources have reported on the impact the border shutdowns have had on North Korea’s population. China has long been North Korea’s biggest trading partner, usually accounting for some 90 percent of its trade volumes, and the Kim Jong Un-led country doesn’t import many goods from elsewhere.

“Everything that we know is anecdotal,” Lina Yoon, a North Korea specialist at Human Rights Watch, told Deutsche Welle. “I have been hearing that the situation is dire. Food accessibility is limited and people are having a hard time accessing daily necessities.”

North Korea does not publicly report economic statistics, but Chinese customs data in January showed that trade between the two countries dropped by 80.7 percent in 2020.

Video: South Korea Wants China to Crack Down on ‘Illegal’ Trawlers (Bloomberg)

Other factors have hurt the country’s economy even before the pandemic. International sanctions made in 2016 and 2017 in response to North Korea’s nuclear activities and heavy flooding in 2018 also strained economic resources.

In June 2020, the United Nation‘s World Food Program reported that up to 40 percent of the North Korean population needed humanitarian aid.

Kim has made references to the dire state of the country’s economy. While speaking at the Eighth Congress of the Workers’ party of Korea (WPK) in Pyongyang in January, he remarked that his five-year economic plan had failed to achieve its goals “in almost all areas to a great extent.”

Yoon also commented to Deutsche Welle about North Korea’s reliance on imports from China and how the border closings have hurt the country. She said, “When you go to a market in a border town (Chinese border), out of all the daily necessities around 90 percent are from China. But those products are probably not there anymore.”

There have been signs in recent weeks that North Korea will soon ease the trading restrictions with China, according to Reuters. For the time being, though, the borders remain closed.

15 thoughts on “North Korea in ‘Dire’ Need for Help”
    1. Communism is NOT working any where including China, Russia, Vietnam, Cuba etc… as their doctrines are manipulative, hatred, bloodshed and for the communist members interest only. Not for their people.
      Do not trust or doing any business with communists.

  1. why do you keep puttin trump in your news,the worst president of all time,how many people did he kill and stole from!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

  2. Well, well well, it couldn’t happen to a more well deserving country. What needs to happen is for the peasants to starve enough so that they become enraged enough to form a militia and take out Baby Fat Boy by whatever means they have a their disposal. We can help once they take out Kim, but we would expect the NK military to lay down their arms to receive the help that would be offered from the international community. At that point we would try and help the South Koreans to work with the NK to bring together both factions to once again form KOREA THE COUNTRY, regardless of what China says about it.

    If North Korea proves to be intractable then starve they all out until that NK style of think shows itself to be detrimental to their survival !!! There is more than one way to skin that cat, but Americans must hold onto their resolve to bring force to bear if NK does not allow help.

    At some point America will need to stand face to face with China and force their hand. I do not believe it will be all that bad for America, because this will not be a ground war but small scirmishes as China we do not believe will use their nuclear weapons, and that a very large portions of China does not support CCP !!!

    Our only issue is that Biden and the DemonRats are trying to blame Russia for everything going on in our country which is total BS. We need Russia on our side if we’re going to take on China and NK because NK and Russia also have a small border they share.

    Our problem is Biden, because no one respects him such that forming a coalition of like minded countries may be difficult to achieve. The guy is not only a lose cannon, he is mentally challenged to the point that we don’t trust him to govern effectively or with reason, which he has displayed a constant ignorance of…….

  3. First China’s population is going down with it’s former one child also with the two child per family because of the cost of child care and now there is a three child per family .China has become a country of older citizens.
    Second NK has spent its treasury on missiles and nuclear weapons and not on trade for its population .
    Has Mr Donald J. Trump’s policies come home to roost on the country of North Korea. ? South Korea is doing fine !

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