the military suffers food shortages, rice
is being sold in the market.
Koreafs economic status is at its worst
since the mass starvation of the late
North Korea is now in the eBori-kogef
period. Bori-koge is the season of food
shortages which comes in spring, when
the harvest of the previous year has all
been eaten and stocks run low. Bori means
ebarleyf, while koge means emountain passf.
In the past, eBori-kogef was a common
word for Korean people. It was used in
feudal times, when the country suffered
from regular famines. The word was then
revived at the time of the great famine
of the 1990s, when North Koreafs economic
situation was the worst in its history.
The Bori-koge period arises in around
April, when the previous autumnfs harvest
begins to run out. This is then gradually
relieved in the second half of June when
the yearfs first potato harvest arrives,
and ends completely in September when
the autumn harvest of grain can be gathered.
I have been continuously observing food
and economic conditions in North Korea
for more than 15 years. Analyzing my direct
interviews with various North Koreans,
their own reports and information from
different sources, it appears that this
yearfs Bori-koge is serious, the worst
since the late 90fs, a time which ended
in mass starvation and social confusion.
I visited the North Korea-China border
zone in May, at the same time Kim Jong-il
was visiting China. While there, I got
in contact with Kim Dong-cheol, one of
the Rimjin-gang reporters who continue
to make undercover reports from inside
Kim, who lives in North Pyongan Province,
secretly crossed the Tumen River to come
and see me.
He had made undercover videos in different
places in North Korea between January
and April. The footage showed a harsh
reality.Many children wandering, begging
in the market. Many had lost parents,
or been abandoned.
Another showed the rapid deterioration
of food supplies and rationing to the
gI am ashamed to say what we are eating
in the military. Within my troop of 100
soldiers, half are malnourished,h a cadet
soldier in his 20fs complains in Kimfs
Kim talks about military food conditions.
gA young soldier came to my house and
said to me, eWill you give some food to
us?f He said that he would be scolded
by his superiors if he could not bring
some food back to the compound. Another
soldier confessed that he had been eating
just 100 grams (3.5 oz) of corn each meal.
Even if you sat still all day, youfd still
be malnourished on such a small amount
of food. Many units only eat corn meal
with salt, since they donft get any side
dishes. The military suffers chronic food
shortages, but this is the first time
Ifve seen them faced with such serious
To be continued - PART
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