According to news reports, North Korea has said it is entering a “state of war” with South Korea in its latest escalation of rhetoric against its southern neighbour and the US. A statement promised “stern physical actions” against “any provocative act”. North Korea has threatened attacks almost daily after it was sanctioned for a third nuclear test in February. It has also reacted angrily to annual US-South Korean military exercises.
But the impoverished state has kept a joint industrial zone that is the source of hard currency where hundreds of South Korean workers and vehicles cross enter daily after crossing the rival Koreas’ heavily armed border. Many believe that this economic need will prevent all out war, but that an increase in smaller skirmishes can be expected.
But this posturing of war has a more human face. The tragic reality is that the government under late leader Kim Jong-il and his son and successor Kim Jong-un cares little whether the North Korean people starve to death. Based on a series of interviews with North Korean defectors in China, a recently published report says that chronic hunger continues in North Korea, despite recent reports of improvements in the country’s food situation. The report says that, while food is available in markets, its price remains out of reach for many ordinary people, and state rations aren’t being distributed to the entire population.
While watching the unfolding news, praying for this nation and its people, those most marginalized by a regime that cares little for its people.