April 15, 2010 10:06
North Korean leader Kim Jong-il has reportedly warned of unrest among North Koreans in the wake of a botched currency reform that wiped out many people's savings. In an unofficial meeting recently, he urged military and party leaders to pacify the people, according to Open Radio for North Korea, a defector-run radio station in Seoul, on Wednesday.
At a meeting on Feb. 2 in which he received a briefing on the progress in the North's project to earn dollars, Kim said, "If the most important thing is single-minded unity under current circumstances, public sentiment is the very basis of such a unity," the radio quoted a high-level North Korean source as saying. "If this problem is solved, it will not be as difficult to earn foreign exchange as now," he reportedly added.
His remarks suggested he, in fact, admitted that he has difficulty raising his own funds and that the North Korean people are agitated.
After he made the remarks in early February, rumors began circulating in North Korean markets that the food shortage would ease, it reported.
Food rationing resumed across the nation on Feb. 16. Security and administrative agencies have since overlooked all transactions in the markets. Probably due to this measure, rice price fell rapidly after hitting 1,300 won per kg on March 8. As of Monday it had dropped to 350 won.
Sources say the lives of North Koreans have stabilized "significantly," the radio station added.
- Copyright © Chosunilbo & Chosun.com