NORTH Korea is on the verge of an historic economic breakdown as United Nations’ sanctions begin to hit home.
North Korea could face its biggest ever financial collapse due to despot Kim Jong-un’s relentless nuclear war programme.
It could suffer even great economic hardship than during the famine-ridden 1990s, which led to hundreds of thousands of deaths, South Korea’s unification minister said.
Cho Myoung-gyon told a political forum this weekend North Korea is on the verge of a large-scale collapse due to dictator Kim’s one-track mind.
He said sanctions issued by the UN in response to the hermit state’s reckless missile launches and nuclear tests could spark chaos and death in the country.
Mr Cho said: “About 90 percent of North Korean export products are expected to be hit by the UN sanctions and Washington’s unilateral punitive acts.
“After the death of founder Kim Il-sung, North Korea faced severe economic difficulties. In some cases, we think that the North’s situation could get worse compared with that period.”
He told South Korea-based news agency Yonhap the recent Workers Party of Korea party meeting appeared to show the country was preparing for a crisis.
Pyongyang-based newspapers have issued rallying cries to the 25 million people living in the world’s most secretive state – many of whom are starving despite Kim and his inner circle living like kings.
One newspaper repeatedly urged self-reliance in a series of opinion pieces, a major keystone of North Korean society due to regularly break-downs in international relations.
It said: “The power of self-reliance clearly shows that North Korea is stronger than the sanctions and pressure imposed by the hostile forces, and a final victory will be reserved for North Korea.
“Our precious sword of self-reliance is our science and technology. A storm made with self-reliance will smash the hostile forces’ policies of sanctions and pressure.”
North Korea suffered a horrifying famine, exacerbated by several huge floods, during the 1990s – a crisis leaders called ‘the Ardous March’.
The country’s centralised government struggled to cope with the lack of food, causing millions of North Koreans to scavenge to survive, living off grass and leaves.
Society broke down completely with factories falling silent as workers went unpaid and raw materials failed to arrive.
Hospitals shut down, shops closed and a black market boomed as families were force to get by in whatever way they could.
The USA estimates as many as 600,000 people died during the crisis, which lasted from 1994 to 1998. Many others defected.
That South Korea now fears a similar breakdown shows the true risk of Kim’s nuclear programme.
Whether he succeeds in creating weapons of mass destruction remains to be seen. What cannot be doubted, however, is regardless of the military outcome his actions will certainly cause the deaths of a horrifying numbers of people.