New time horizon on North Korea’s border shutdown?

By: Benjamin Katzeff Silberstein

There have been many rumors on when the North Korean government might end the current shutdown and restore the border trade with China to a somewhat normal, pre-pandemic flow. This is a recent data point (among many) on this and should of course be taken with the customary generous pinch of salt, but Radio Free Asia reports that North Koreans have been told the hardships will last at least until 2025:

After the government informed citizens to expect more years of hardship, people complained that they might not be able to last through the coming winter–much less hold out through the middle of the decade.

“Two weeks ago, they told the neighborhood watch unit meeting that our food emergency would continue until 2025. Authorities emphasized that the possibility of reopening customs between North Korea and China before 2025 was very slim,” a resident of the northwestern border city of Sinuiju, across from China’s Dandong, told RFA’s Korean Service Oct. 21.

“The food situation right now is already clearly an emergency, and the people are struggling with shortages. When the authorities tell them that they need to conserve and consume less food until 2025… they can do nothing but feel great despair,” said the source who requested anonymity for security reasons.

(Source: Jeong Yon Park, “North Korea tells hungry citizens to ‘tighten belts’ until 2025,” Radio Free Asia, October 26th, 2021.)


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