Russian Ambassador Reveals Severe Shortage of Necessities in Locked Down N. Korea


Anchor: The Russian ambassador in Pyongyang revealed there is a severe shortage of daily necessities in North Korea due to the country’s border lockdowns and import suspensions to prevent the entry of COVID-19. The Russian diplomat said the communist state has no other choice but to stay locked up as it does not have the necessary medical resources to fight the virus.

Choi You Sun reports.

Report: Speaking to Russia’s Interfax news agency on Monday, Russian Ambassador to North Korea Alexander Matsegora said foreign diplomats in Pyongyang are experiencing a shortage of necessities due to border lockdowns against COVID-19.

The ambassador said many embassy staff have left the communist state since the lockdowns were imposed in January of last year. Imports of raw materials were completely halted in September, forcing businesses to close and people to lose jobs.

For the diplomats who have decided to stay, they have been banned from traveling outside Pyongyang since January of last year, and their children are not allowed to leave the embassy premises.

While foreigners are permitted to access around 300 stores and one market in Pyongyang, as the blockade lengthened, it has become difficult to buy necessities such as flour and sugar. Prices have also tripled or quadrupled.

Russian embassy employees have begun exchanging clothes and shoes with each other for their growing children, and are experiencing a shortage of medicine.

Matsegora said Pyongyang publicly admits that it can not lift the lockdowns due to a lack of medical facilities and resources to counter a possible COVID-19 outbreak.

He, however, forecast the blockades to be partially eased in the future as the North is building large disinfection facilities along its borders with Russia and China to resume imports.

Asked about the security situation on the Korean Peninsula, the Russian ambassador said while the potential for conflict remains, the atmosphere is far more peaceful compared to how it was up until late 2017.

Source: KBS World Radio