April 01, 2019 09:34
U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday said North Korea is in serious economic difficulty due to international sanctions and no further strictures are necessary.
North Koreans are already "suffering greatly... They're having a hard time," Trump told reporters at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. "I didn't think that additional sanctions at this time were necessary."
Asked why he has canceled new sanctions the Treasury Department was planning after his summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Hanoi last month collapsed, he said, "I think it's very important that you maintain that relationship at least as long as you can." But he added, "It doesn't mean I don't put them on later."
The North Korean regime has ordered its people to tighten their belts. In a front-page editorial, the official Rodong Sinmun on Saturday stressed the need to "wage a vigorous struggle to save [materials] to the maximum extent" in construction projects.
"Construction in Samjiyon is continuing under the most difficult condition in our country's construction history," the daily added, referring to a major project in Ryanggang Province.
Early this year, the North asked Russia for 100,000 tons of free wheat flour and Russia agreed to send 50,000 tons, the Asahi Shimbun quoted a source as saying on Sunday. The daily also reported that food prices are going up at North Korean markets, probably due to hoarding as international sanctions continue.
Kim recently ordered the Foreign Ministry to appeal to international organizations that the North is suffering a severe food shortage.
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