Dec. 18 (UPI) -- The Kim Jong Un regime is waging war against widespread corruption among cadres but the economy of bribe-giving in North Korean society may be hard to rein in, according to South Korea-based analysts.
Lee Young-jong, a North Korea specialist with newspaper JoongAng Daily, reported Tuesday a Dec. 10 statement in Pyongyang's Rodong Sinmun, calling for "selfless service" was also a declaration of war against the cycle of corruption.
"Our party has already proclaimed war against the dangerous toxins of power politics and bureaucracy that eat away at and destroy our singular unity and helps our enemies," the Rodong article read.
The term "power politics" is a reference to corruption and bribery, according to Lee.
The South Korean journalist said Kim has become more vocal about his opposition to corruption.
The North Korean leader's burst of anger at a North Korean factory in August was also an expression of his disappointment regarding on-site corruption. At the Myohyangsan Medical Appliances Factory, Kim had said the factory reminded him of a barn, or a stable.
Lee said the expression was a reference to missing machinery, torn apart and sold to outsiders for profit.
A survey from the Institute for Peace and Unification Studies at Seoul National University suggests breaking the cycle of bribery and corruption in North Korea is difficult.
Defectors who responded to the survey said about 20 percent of their income must be given to state as "bribes" when they lived in North Korea. Individuals who make their living in the markets could be expected to give as much as 50 percent of their earnings to officials, according to the institute.
As North Korean officials with power may be lining their pockets with extorted funds, impoverished North Koreans could be struggling with food.
South Korea's rural development administration said Tuesday North Korea's grain production likely decreased about 160,000 tons in 2018, down 3.4 percent from the previous year, according to Yonhap.
Record high temperatures in July and August are to blame for the shortfall, according to the South Korean government agency.