The leader of North Korea redefined his priorities at the end of a critical ruling party meeting. It marked his decade of power, mentioning food scarcity and the faltering economy. He cautioned that the country is facing a "great life-and-death struggle."

When coronavirus surfaced, he had immediately closed the border with China. This was because the virus's origin was in China, and Kim wanted to prevent the entry of infection. However, this self-imposed blockade left the North struggling with food shortages because China is the main trade partner of North Korea, and the closure of the border devastated businesses.

Kim Jong-un emphasized increasing development and improving the people's living standards. Incidentally, his speech avoided topics like the United States or South Korea. It was a rare departure for the leader to bypass these topics he invariably talked about. A news report of April highlighted the food shortage in North Korea that forced foreign diplomats to leave.

North Korea to focus on food, clothing, and housing problems

Kim Jong-un acknowledged the "harsh situation" in 2021. He is keen to make radical progress in areas that help to connect with the people. These issues relate to issues like food, clothing, and housing problems.

Kim has identified the battle against the pandemic as one of the main goals for the coming year.

He said: "Emergency epidemic prevention work should be made a top priority in the state work." On defense capabilities, Kim said the country would continue to add power to its defense capabilities. He explained that this was necessary for view of the unstable military environment on the Korean peninsula. North Korea admitted that coronavirus and lockdowns had sparked hardships.

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Normally, Kim Jong-un uses these opportunities to talk about South Korea and America. This time, he was silent on these issues. Instead, he expressed his concerns about the food situation and the hungry people.

There is a food problem in North Korea

Throughout the pandemic, North Korea isolated itself from the rest of the world.

It did not acknowledge a single domestic case of coronavirus. Kim Jong-un usually has a lot to say about South Korea and America, but he devoted his attention to boosting agricultural productivity in the country. He also showered praises on the military advances made during his decade in office. Kim did not elaborate on the extent of food scarcity. In June, he said the country faced a "tense food situation" due to typhoons and floods.

However, World Food Organization warned of severe shortages in the country in 2021. It could be a massive shortfall of hundreds of thousands of tons of rice. In 2020, North Korea faced severe flooding in some of its most fertile rice-producing regions. That has aggravated the shortfall. In the 1990s, it was in the grip of a famine, and nearly 10 percent of its population starved to death.