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N Korea at crossroads

North Korea food shortage turns into new Asia humanitarian crisis

Regime clamps down on hoarding as rationing system on verge of collapse

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is struggling to increase food supply as the COVID pandemic keeps his country's borders closed. (Source photos by Kyodo and KCNA/Reuters)

SEOUL -- North Korea's food shortages have reached crisis levels, and inequalities have sharply widened ever since the COVID-19 pandemic forced the country to close its borders in January last year.

The reclusive nation will be short by about 860,000 tons of food this year, or about two months of normal demand, the United Nation's Food and Agriculture Organization estimated in a recent report.

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