North Korea citizens told to eat terrapin by Kim Jong-un amid food shortages

The coronavirus pandemic has led North Korea to shut its border with China, meaning it can no longer receive staples such as cooking oil and rice from its biggest trading partner

    The government has recommended eating terrapins (Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

    North Korean citizens have been forced to eat terrapins due to food shortages.

    The hermit kingdom has found itself in the grips of famine since tightening its borders even more than usual due to the coronavirus pandemic.

    The move has tipped many citizens over the edge into destitution, with millions having already been on the breadline for years due to governmental mismanagement and UN sanctions.

    North Korean trade has been targeted due to leader Kim Jong Un's drive for nuclear weapons.

    In a bid to help its citizens stave their hunger, the government's website Naenara has advised people to eat terrapins.

    "From olden times, terrapin has been used in making haute cuisine for its good taste and abundant nutrient component," the website says, The Sun reported.

    North Korea has been widely sanctioned under Kim's rule
    (Image: KCNA VIA KNS/AFP via Getty Image)

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    "It has various essential nutrient components including protein, essential amino acid and vitamin efficacious for curing hepatitis, hypertension and other diseases.

    "Its blood, carapace and bone are widely used as materials of Koryo medicines.

    "In particular, its blood is efficacious for diabetes and weak children."

    It is recommended that terrapins are served raw or made into broths, stews or porridges.

    The North Korean economy is having one of its worst years in recent history.

    The animals can be made into broths, stews or porridges
    (Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

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    In 2016 UN sanctions came into force, blocking almost all of its trading routes aside from those with China.

    Prior to the pandemic Chinese trade with North Korea accounted for 95% of all global trade with the country.

    In March and April this year Sino-North Korean trade fell by 90% after the border was closed, The Diplomat reported.

    Many daily necessities such as cooking oil, flour and rice have not been able to flow into the country as a result.

    North Korean leader Kim Jong Un rule has seen the country fall into famine again
    (Image: KCNA VIA KNS/AFP via Getty Image)

    According to the UN Rapporteur, over 40 percent of North Koreans “were already food insecure prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, many of them suffering malnutrition and stunted growth.”

    The pandemic has also put huge pressure on the dictatorship's medicine supply.

    So many people were going without medicine for chronic conditions that the Kim regime ordered regional hospitals to start producing their own pharmaceuticals.

    Most have been unable to do so due to a lack of expertise and equipment.

    To make matters worse, many factories are closing down in the country as exports dry up.

    To help its citizens navigate their way through the crisis the government has advised people hunt for pheasanta.

    They have also recommended a slimming tea which is supposed to leave the drinker feeling full.


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