North Korea Economy KDI Review of the North Korean Economy, August 2023 August 31, 2023
The August issue provides an in-depth examination of humanitarian aid to North Korea and its ongoing food crisis. Initiated in the mid-1990s, this aid has alleviated chronic food shortages and improved living standards for North Korean residents. Nevertheless, persistent questions linger concerning the equitable allocation of aid to vulnerable demographics and its diversion to governmental elites and the armed forces. Further complicating the discourse are ongoing provocative activities by North Korea, despite the influx of external aid. Professor Hazel Smith, a leading expert, posits that the crisis is less a "food shortage" and more a "food divide." She highlights that North Korea's socialist food system, worsened by excessive government intervention, restricts food access for vulnerable citizens. The Kim Jong-un regime's new rice policy, enhancing state control and limiting market trade, is expected to aggravate this access gap, intensifying the crisis among marginalized groups due to systemic and policy failures.
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