North Korea: Malnourishment crisis increases for population
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Married women living near the border in the province of Ryanggang will be ordered to make 10 cement blocks each day through October. Radio Free Asia quoted one local saying neighbourhood watch groups have also been called on to chip in with the work.
The unidentified person said: “Not only are they mobilizing the members of the neighbourhood watch units in the border area, but also members of the Socialist Women’s Union of Korea.
“They are making cement blocks for wall construction.”
The practice of forcing people to work for no money is common practice in North Korea, reports suggest.
The plan could wreak havoc on cash-strapped families in the border region.
Because government salaries are low, many wives run businesses in a bid to make ends meet.
The hermit kingdom and China share a 880-mile border which is used to facilitate trade.
But in January 2020, as the Covid pandemic took hold, authorities in Beijing and Pyongyang agreed to shut down the frontier and suspend all trade to prevent the further spread of the virus.
North Korean authorities have in recent years pounced on smugglers in the region, especially near the province’s largest city Hyesan.
The closure of the border has hit the North Korean economy particularly badly and food prices have surged.
In a bid to deter illegal border crossings, North Korea has held public executions, according to reports.
The country has also laid landmines as a deterrent and deployed special forces.
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Soldiers have been ordered to shoot anyone who comes within 1km (0.6 miles) of the line.
The new wall will serve as a major obstacle for anyone attempting to illegally cross the boundary.
A second source was quoted as saying: “The people are critical of the authorities, saying, ‘Even in this severe coronavirus emergency, people still cross the river, risking their lives to smuggle. Even if they build the wall, could that possibly stop people from finding a way to cross the river?’
“Compared to other areas on the border, it is easier for smugglers to cross into China from Hyesan because of its unique geographical features.
“This is why they are building the wall in Ryanggang.”
Amid food shortages and economic woes across the country, the dictator Kim is said to be entertaining his family in a “floating amusement park” boat.
The ostentatious vessel has been in his family for decades but recently was given a renovation and brought up to modern floating-flume standards.
It features an Olympic-sized pool, multi-storey lounge and two waterslides which twist around.
Satellite images taken of a private beach owned by Kim on Monday showed the vessel docked off the shoreline.
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