Digital Desk, Seoul. The Unification Ministry in Seoul said on Monday that North Korea’s prices for groceries and daily necessities are expected to rise sharply to contain the COVID-19 pandemic. North Korea has imposed strict border controls since last year, which is believed to have taken a tough decision on its economy already hit by severe sanctions, Yonhap news agency reports.
Ministry spokesman Lee Jong-joo said at a press briefing, North Korea continues to face food shortages, with nearly one million tonnes of food being depleted every year. Since the border lockdown due to corona virus has been prolonged, there is likely to be difficulty in getting essential food items from abroad.
North Korea was seen preparing to reopen its land border with China. South Korea’s spy agency estimated that its cross-border train services could resume in early November. But the proliferation of Omicron variants is clearly delaying the reopening of the planned frontier of the inclusive regime.
Lee said, however, that we have limits on access to accurate information. The government estimates that there is increasing volatility in the prices of food and necessities (in North Korea) and that the prices of some commodities are rising sharply. Still, referring to experts’ assessment that the North’s crop production may improve this year due to better weather conditions. He said the government would continue to monitor its position in line with the review on the need for humanitarian assistance.
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