The Hermit Kingdom is talking tough again, only this time it’s about the fight to feed its own people.
On the northern side of the Korean demilitarized zone (DMZ) separating the democratic South from the totalitarian North (DPRK), there’s a flurry of activity as soldiers drop their weapons to pick up farming tools, Fox News reports.
Inside the DMZ, hundreds of North Korean soldiers marched in a line with backpacks. On a hilltop above them in North Hwanghae province, Col. Kim Chang Jun said they were being dispatched to farms — but still prepared for war if need be.
“From the outside, it looks peaceful: farmers are out in the fields, children are going to school,” he said. “But behind the scenes, they are getting ready for war. They’re working until midnight but come morning, if the call comes, they’ll be ready to go to battle.”
Despite the battle warning, this turn to farming is one indicator that tensions may be over for now, especially with a food shortage looming on Pyongyang’s horizon.
“It’s impossible for [North Korean soldiers] to fight because they don’t have enough food and their health is poor,” Choe Song Min, a defector who spent 20 years in the North’s army, told the Independent.
Sources within South Korea told The Independent that up to seven million people in the North have been ordered to make preparations for spring harvest.
“North Korea may face a severe food shortage,” Hong Gyu, the DPRK ambassador to Mongolia said in a letter. “Therefore, we ask Mongolia to learn possibilities of delivering food aid to North Korea”.
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