Friday, July 30, 2021

Amidst reports of harsh lockdown leading to extreme hunger in North Korea, Russia offers COVID vaccines once again

Russia has offered North Korea COVID vaccines once again, amidst reports that a harsh lockdown is leading to extreme hunger.

Pyongyang has refused vaccines and aid from a number of countries. It has instead sealed borders to try and keep the virus out but that has affected trade with China. It relies on Beijing for food, fertiliser and fuel.

Kim Jong-un has acknowledged that the country is facing food shortages, describing the situation as tense.

He made the comments last month and also told citizens to prepare for the worst ever outcome which has invoked comparisons to a deadly famine in the 1990s. International trade sanctions are believed to have further put pressure on food supplies. Russia has previously told North Korea that not everyone can endure unprecedentedly strong, overarching restrictions, and on Wednesday (yesterday)Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that Moscow has offered Pyongyang vaccines on a number of occasions.

He also repeated the offer to provide vaccines should the country require them. North Korea is in crisis. How big this crisis becomes will depend on what happens in the next few months. There are now a number of reports suggesting food shortages and it’s thought Kim Jong Un has ordered the military to distribute its stores amongst the people. A UN report yesterday said the country is facing food shortages of around 860,000 tonnes this year and it is forecasting a harsh lean period.

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