North Korea bracing for fallout from Typhoon Lingling

Sept. 16 (UPI) — North Korea state media warned Typhoon Lingling could have had a serious impact on the autumn harvest, amid reports of food shortages in the country.

Korean Workers’ Party newspaper Rodong Sinmun said Monday “Typhoon No. 13” could have hurt crops. It called on the citizenry to devote all their energy to the harvest.

“Let us focus on harvesting and graining and finish the work in a timely manner,” the article read.

“If we mostly solve the issue of food, we have no reason to fear 10 years, 20 years of the ongoing sanctions of the hostile forces.”

North Korea is under heavy international and U.S. sanctions. Recent sanctions from the U.S. Treasury target North Korean hacking groups that generate foreign currency earnings for the regime. International embargoes limit the amount of coal North Korea can export to top trading partners like China.

On Monday the Rodong said increasing grain production and realizing food self-sufficiency is the key to breakthroughs in economic development and improving people’s lives.

The paper said that in order to mitigate the adverse impact of crop failure, the North Korean people must “squeeze” the maximum output from this year’s harvest.

The World Food Program had said in its August forecast the food situation in North Korea is expected to worsen in 2019.

South Korea has postponed food aid to the North, however, according to local news service Seoul Pyongyang News.

Seoul’s unification ministry said Monday 50,000 tons of rice pledged to the North could be on hold because Pyongyang has yet to respond to the offer of assistance.

Ministry spokesman Lee Sang-min said Seoul is working with the WFP to confirm North Korea’s official position, according to the report.

North Korea has also rebuffed South Korean offers of talks on economic cooperation and assistance.