North Korea's state newspaper Rodong Sinmun warned citizens on Wednesday that consuming external food aid was akin to eating "poisoned candy," as the nation grapples with food shortages due to natural disasters, international sanctions, and cuts in trade with China during lockdowns.
The editorial also urged economic self-reliance, advising North Koreans against receiving aid from what it deems "imperialists" using it as a "trap to plunder and subjugate" its recipients and interfere with internal politics.
North Korea has joined the nuclear weapons club, and there's little chance of turning back. Rather than living in denial, the West should focus now on ensuring the nuclear program is carried out safely and responsibly, and prioritizing human rights issues. Though nuclear war is frightening, nations such as India and Pakistan were able to build ICBMs while simultaneously joining the international community. It's time for Pyongyang to be invited to the table on the condition that it stops starving its people.
The West, particularly the US-South Korea military alliance, has a right to maintain its strict sanctions against and focus on the North's erratic ICBM tests. Though the Kim regime may see this as a threat and subsequently double down on its missile launches, that is no reason for the South or its allies to back down militarily. The North enjoys its stranglehold on its people, which is why it continues to oppress them and fend off Western intervention through nuclear threats.
There is a 39% chance that there will be a major famine in North Korea before 2025, according to the Metaculus prediction community.