Nearly half of North Korea’s population needs humanitarian aid. But the missile programme goes on


How do we know North Korea had its worst food harvest in more than a decade? Well the United Nations’ Resident Coordinator in the North has told us.  So, this is not some calculation from a distance. It comes from within North Korea.

The UN’s Resident Coordinator, Tapan Mishra, has told the world North Korea is suffering the effects of a triple whammy – it has been hit by natural disasters, the lack of arable land, and inefficient agriculture.

Mr Mishra said in a statement that the result is “the lowest production in more than a decade…(and) a significant food gap.”

So, 600,000 more North Koreans than last year need humanitarian assistance. That means 10.9 million people or 43 per cent of North Korea’s population.

This raises the spectre of another famine, just as in the 1990s.

And yet Kim Jong Un, a dictator whom Donald Trump once said “loves his people”, continues to prioritise North Korea’s missile test facilities.

On the very day the UN reported the North’s food shortfall, American military analysts and South Korean intelligence officials said Pyongyang had started rebuilding the facilities it uses to launch satellites into orbit and test engines and other technologies for its intercontinental ballistic missile programme.

Go figure.