Last May 14, the North Korean army(Kim Young-Chun, head of the Ministry of the People’s Armed Forces) and cabinet(Prime Minister Choi Young-Lim) decided to take full charge of supplying food for rice planting and oil. They are supplying food by opening the army’s storage for reserve of provisions. It has been confirmed that this is the result of the North Korean army being responsible for the suspension of the United States’ 240,000 ton nutrition aid due to the missile launch on April 13.
Being responsible for suspending the 240,000 ton nutrition aid from the United States because of the missile launch announcement on March 16 and the launch on April 13, the North Korean army accepted the pressure of the cabinet(Prime Minister Choi Young-Lim) demanding to aid food for rice planting. Thus, it decided to aid food, reserve supplies(belongs to the department of logistics mobilization), and oil and put this decision into practice.
On the 16th, this paper’s inner sources said that “as the military was losing ground due to its failure in the long-range missile launch, it decided to accept the cabinet’s opinion to aid food for rice planting” and emphasized that “this decision was made by the cabinet’s firm request saying that ‘The military is responsible for not being able to receive nutrition aid from the United States which North Korea was supposed to get through the meeting with the US last February because it enforced the missile launch. Therefore, the military should definitely take care of the result.’” It is even judged that the North Korean leadership seriously worried about its economic management as China’s food and fuel aid was cut off from April to the middle of May during the period of “battle for supporting farming villages” which has been taking place every May for a long time.
Sources also said that “the military promised to not only aid food needed for rice planting but also oil for vehicles such as tractors and rice planting machines and it is carrying this out in reality” and conveyed that “the elders of the National Defense Committee gave a lot of support in arriving at this agreement.”
When it becomes the farming season every year in North Korea, ‘the battle for supporting farming villages’ is conducted by national support to end rice planting in season. The whole nation, including the central organization, government institutions, enterprises, students, and soldiers are mobilized for this.
At this time, the local farm administration committee is responsible for the food for volunteers, but since there is no spare food at farms, the cabinet is flooded with ‘lawsuits’ saying that there is no food to feed them.
In North Korea, soldiers bring their vehicles to the threshing floor where harvesting is at its peak every year and take away food as provisions for the army. Especially last year in North Korea, it has turned out that grain crop was low compared to the past due to the severe damage from the rainy season. Due to this situation, it has been confirmed that North Korea was only able to supply food that would last for two to three months for farmers. Moreover, since farms are not able to sufficiently save reserve of provisions for farming, they cannot even guarantee food that would last for a month for volunteers mobilized from all across the country including cities for rice planting. The only way to solve the problem of the lack of food is to receive food aided by the international society, but the 240,000 ton nutrition aid that North Korea was supposed to get from the United States in February was suspended by the missile launch on April 13.
Eventually, the only spare grain is the reserve of provisions that the army saved for war reserve stocks last year. Saving war reserve stocks including food and oil used to mean saving supplies needed during times of war such as food and necessities that the army and residents would consume for three years to prepare for situations that might happen. The department of logistics mobilization is in charge of reserving and taking care of reserve supplies and they are saved inside storages no. 2 that are made in the form of a mine.
North Korea has a precedent of ‘supplementing food without any plans’ by emptying these reserve of provisions during the ‘march of tribulation’ in the mid 1990s. The fact that North Korea is scooping up these reserve of provisons shows that its food situation has reached to the utmost extent. Meanwhile, it allows us to predict that the army’s position in the North Korean power has reduced due to the missile launch this time.
Finally, sources conveyed that “it seems that the elders of the National Defense Committee still have a strong influence on the army” and that “it seems that Prime Minister Choi is attracting the army’s old generation that has been laid aside by the new power to his outside forces and using them as his supporting force.”
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