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Kim Jong Un tours catfish farm as soldiers go hungry

By Elizabeth Shim
Kim Jong Un tours catfish farm as soldiers go hungry
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un visited a newly built catfish farm, North Korea’s state television announced Tuesday. Photo by Yonhap

Nov. 28 (UPI) -- North Korea aired footage of leader Kim Jong Un providing field guidance at a new catfish farm as sources said soldiers in the country are subsisting on moldy cornmeal.

Kim's rare civilian visit comes at a time when the relatively isolated state could be struggling with the toughest sanctions to be imposed on the regime for its development of nuclear weapons.

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North Korea's state-controlled network KCTV said Tuesday Kim toured the newly built Sunchon Catfish Factory, and aired images of Kim showing his satisfaction with the condition of fish tanks and freezers filled with catfish.

"Comrade Kim Jong Un provided field guidance at the newly built Sunchon Catfish Factory, born in the struggle to achieve the decision made at the Seventh Party Congress" in 2016, KCTV stated.

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North Korea already operates three other catfish farms.

The fish is reportedly disease-resistant, reproduces quickly and have been cultivated as North Korea continues to cope with food shortages, according to South Korean television network MBN.

"Nothing is impossible if it is done in the revolutionary spirit of self-regeneration," North Korea stated.

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Food shortage and disease, however, are a constant problem in North Korea's military, sources in the country say.

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Daily NK reported Tuesday soldiers are suffering from diarrhea because they are consuming moldy cornmeal.

A North Korea-based source familiar with the military told the South Korean news service soldiers are no longer relying on Kim for rations.

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After Kim assumed power, "nearly all food supplies were cut," the source said.

Clean water is also in short supply in the military, which means foods are not properly washed before consumption, the source said.

A shortage of toothbrushes and toothpaste has also meant soldiers must use salt to take care of their teeth.

A North Korean soldier who defected Nov. 13 was found to have numerous parasites in his stomach.

News of his defection has been broadcasted on South Korean loudspeakers facing the border, Radio Free Asia reported.

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