North Korean leader Kim Jong Un recently visited a fish-pickling factory, according to photos state media released on Wednesday.
The photos of Kim beaming next to stacks of food are no doubt meant to send a signal to the world that the country is doing better than ever – whether true or not.
In reality, the country’s economy is still under the grip of international sanctions imposed after its nuclear and missile tests. A United Nations report last year concluded 70% of North Koreans were struggling to get enough to eat.
On Tuesday, the White House national security adviser, John Bolton, said the country wasn’t holding up its promises toward denuclearization.
Still, Kim looked very happy as he toured the factory with troops while dressed in an uncharacteristically casual getup:
Kim was accompanied on the trip by his wife, Ri Sol-ju, who followed him around the Kumsanpho plant, smiling and dutifully holding his suit jacket.
Source: KCNA Watch
North Korean state media said the factory, located in South Hwanghae Province, is the first of its kind, producing 30 types of pickled-fish products, including eel, anchovy, and shrimp. Kim called the stockpiles of food a “spectacular view,” according to state media.
Source: KCNA Watch
An estimated 41% of North Koreans, or 10.5 million people, are believed to be undernourished.
Source: The New York Times
Kim skipped his usual Mao-style suit for a simpler outfit consisting of a short-sleeve white henley T-shirt, slacks, and a Panama hat. The Korean Peninsula has been experiencing a heat wave.
Since mid-July, temperatures have reached 100 degrees Fahrenheit. The situation is apparently so bad that state media have warned farmers to look after their crops, since they could die off in the high heat.
But on the tour, Kim and everyone with him were beaming.