The North Korean military props up the hermit state, and for decades was insulated from the effects of country’s moribund economy. As children starved or subsisted on grass or whatever they could find, the military was kept well fed. But according to video captured by a North Korean man over the course of several months, the military itself has joined the ranks of the starving.
In the footage, a party official is demanding a stallholder make a donation of rice to the army.
“My business is not good,” complains the stallholder.
“Shut up,” replies the official. “Don’t offer excuses.”
It is clear that the all-powerful army – once quarantined from food shortages and famine – is starting to go hungry.
“Everybody is weak,” says one young North Korean soldier. “Within my troop of 100 comrades, half of them are malnourished,” he said.
Jiro Ishimaru is the man who trained the undercover reporter to use the hidden camera.
“This footage is important because it shows that Kim Jong-il’s regime is growing weak,” he said.
“It used to put the military first, but now it can’t even supply food to its soldiers. Rice is being sold in markets but they are starving. This is the most significant thing in this video.”
North Korea is in the midst of another major famine, and the heir apparent to the Kim throne, Kim Jung-un, is an unaccomplished 28 years old.