North Korea soldiers 'malnourished'

2011-06-27 12:00

Sydney - North Korea is struggling to feed its army, according to new footage obtained from within the secretive state which shows a soldier complaining his unit is weak from a lack of nutrition.

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) said the video was taken by an undercover North Korean journalist over several months earlier this year and smuggled out of the communist country to China.

It shows orphaned children begging for food in the streets and a party official ordering a vendor at a private market to give her a donation of rice for the army - once quarantined from food shortages.

"Everybody is weak," one young North Korean soldier is filmed saying to the reporter's hidden camera.

"Within my troop of 100 comrades, half of them are malnourished."

The ABC said the exclusive video also showed labourers building a private railway track near the capital Pyongyang for ruler Kim Jong-Il's son and apparent heir Kim Jong-Un.

Eating grass, bark

"This rail line is a present from Kim Jong-Il to comrade Kim Jong-Un," the undercover journalist is told when he asks the building site supervisor what they are doing.

Japanese publisher Jiro Ishimaru, who instructed the undercover reporter on how to use the camera, told the ABC the footage was important because it showed the weakening of Kim Jong-Il's regime.

"It used to put the military first, but now it can't even supply food to its soldiers," Ishimaru, who edits a magazine featuring insider accounts of life in North Korea, told the ABC.

"Rice is being sold in markets but they are starving. This is the most significant thing in this video," he said.

Impoverished North Korea has requested overseas food and relief groups have said that the state faces imminent shortages, saying people are again eating grass and tree bark.

The United Nations has pleaded with international donors to overlook political difficulties in the face of a humanitarian crisis, saying six million people are in danger of not getting enough to eat.

Hundreds of thousands of North Koreans died in a famine in the 1990s.

  • Martin du Plessis - 2011-06-27 12:32

    And 95% (give or take) of the food they produce goes straight to the army too. Makes you wonder how all the other poor ppl are suffering.

  • CynicBelieve - 2011-06-27 12:54

    Communism at it's best

      mike - 2011-06-27 13:37

      bloody agents at there best

  • James - 2011-06-27 13:07

    Just LOVE those "Commies" ....

  • customdesign - 2011-06-27 13:26

    A society where some people are just more equal than others... I hope Kim Jong-Il gets eaten alive by worms and maggots- piece of (&*(&%

      Rob Gunning - 2011-06-27 14:09

      In a communist and socialist country... never....

  • Martin du Plessis - 2011-06-27 13:42

    Even with china and South Korea propping them up as they are now, i doubt North Korea will last long like this.

      sardonicus - 2011-06-27 13:52

      As long as Kim Jong Il and company are in charge, they couldn't care what happens to the people. Sadly even in the face of aid that South Korea has so generously donated, Kim constantly threatens war.

  • sardonicus - 2011-06-27 13:50

    A rather ugly side to personality cults. take heed South Africans, this is communism at its worst.

  • shmangle - 2011-06-27 14:00

    With not a single success story to point to, one has to wonder what exactly it is that keeps the communist dream alive in some other countries, like South Africa. Oh yes, of course, it's the sense of entitlement. Nothing like getting something you didn't work for, or working for something you'll never get. And yet, our entitled indigenous just keep on barking up that tree.

  • GerhardZA_BE - 2011-06-27 14:10

    This is the obvious result of communism, it sounds great on paper, it cannot however be practicly applied, here is the proof, the people are starving, what I cannot understand is why the people cannot stand up to Kim - Jong II, why don't they kill him, what they would need is just even 1 person with no fear, morals and common decency to speak out, to let the people realise their potential and power, if they would all stand together they could within days destroy Kim-Jongs goverment and elect their own leaders, everyone has the ability to sense real leadership and ability, it is only our unnatural fear of death that inhibits action, in stead of freezing up and waiting for someone else to do the fighting, every man must stand up to protect our children and future generations from a world that is giving power to the mindless and hatefull, this so that the driving party, the big businesses of the world who desperately protect their flawed steadily crumbling monetary system that hes been raped and is controlled only by a select few, and those who are supposwed to protect the people, the goverment, are so fixated with their own lust for power, money and their rascism, here I specifically talk of Julius Malema and our president, Jacob Zuma, the two people who arfe supposed to uphold the rights of the people, are trying to pass a bill that will put me in jail for saying what I am saying, they want to take away your right of freedom of speech, that my fellow citizens,is communism

      KanaMay - 2011-06-27 20:37

      The Asian saying used to be 'Control the water, and you can control / rule that country (region)', but I think it's 'Control the food' in N. Korea now. People are too hungry to live, never mind break into the well-guarded palace and look for those over-fed rulers.

  • letsee - 2011-06-27 18:18

    And Julius Malema wants to follow about the same path.

  • AJ - 2011-06-28 06:45

    Another sad case of 20 rich people telling 20 million poor people what to do and how to do it....and they follow the 'dear leader'. The article refers to North Korea, but you can insert quite a few countries names in here.

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