April 9 (UPI) -- North Korea's supervising officers were issued a rare warning against mistreating their subordinates amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Korean Workers' Party newspaper Rodong Sinmun said Thursday North Korean officers in charge of directing the work of others should be "mindful" of the needs of lower-ranking people.
The advisory is being issued at a time when food could be in short supply in the country and the privileged class could be trying to find a way to make a profit amid the crisis. According to a recent report from outside media, three senior North Korean officials sold "high-quality food" stolen from an "emergency shipment" from China and were later executed on charges of treason.
On Thursday, state media stressed the importance of ethical codes and called on senior officers to abandon behavior that damages social cohesion.
"Morality is an important quality that defines the value and dignity of a [senior] worker," the paper said. "Workers of the party must abide by moral codes, when it comes to treating other people."
The paper also said senior supervisors should present the right attitude in the workplace.
"No matter how hard you are working, if you frown or yell at others, the masses of workers will not follow your orders," the paper said.
"A [senior] worker who acts in a haughty manner, believing himself to be a special being who stands above the masses, has already lost his qualifications," the paper said.
North Korea's food shortage could be a growing problem in the country.
The World Food Program said in its recent report, "COVID-19: Potential Impact on the World's Poorest People," 12.2 million North Koreans face chronic food insecurity and malnutrition.
The WFP's statement comes after the Food and Agricultural Organization said 10.1 million North Koreans are food insecure.
The WFP also warned low-income countries like North Korea would be most heavily affected in the economic aftermath of COVID-19.