In an editorial that ran in state newspaper Rodong Sinmun, North Korea stated a second "Arduous March" could transpire if North Koreans did not pledge their loyalty to Kim.
The article, titled "North Korea's greatest power," said another "Arduous March [famine], when we would be forced to eat grass, could come about, and we are left in isolation to fight against the enemy."
This is the first time Pyongyang has alluded to the famine of 1995-98 after the adoption of U.N. Security Council sanctions resolution 2270.
The famine killed millions of North Koreans who trusted that the state would continue to supply them with food.
"Whether in independence, under subjugation, war, or peace, we are in a most extreme situation," North Korea stated, adding the country has entered an era of "anti-imperialism."
"Our unity is the essence of the principle of a hundred wars, a hundred victories, as long as we believe in the supreme leader Kim Jong Un. Because he is with us, we will be victorious," North Korea stated.
But as North Korea made allusions to a difficult period in recent history, Kim and his wife, Ri Sol Ju, visited what appeared to be an upscale department store in Pyongyang.
Kim wore a fur coat and hat, and his wife wore a stylish blue skirt suit. They appeared to be touring an area that looked newly refurbished.
Yonhap reported Kim's sister Kim Yo Jong accompanied the couple and that the North Korean leader said he was happy the store was filled with North Korea-made "cosmetics, household electronics and food items."
The vast majority of North Koreans are impoverished, with most North Koreans on average earning $1-2 a month.