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N. Korean soldiers suffering from malnutrition: report

2016/08/10 18:21

SEOUL, Aug. 10 (Yonhap) -- North Korean soldiers suffering from malnutrition are beginning to channel their grievances against the repressive regime, even blaming the inability of the military's top political official, U.S.-based Radio Free Asia (RFA) said Wednesday.

A North Korean resident in Jagang Province told RFA that he was shocked by the news that his son, who entered the army in March, was suffering from malnutrition.

He said the rations given to ordinary soldiers are so poor that most are in a serious state of undernourishment.

The North Korean informant said that since his son went to the army, he ate only boiled corn with a soup of salted wild greens.

Another military source in Ryanggang Province said in the units he knew, the military food supply is not so bad as to cause malnutrition, but added that troops are starving due to deep-rooted corruption and greed for private profits by officers.

More often than not, army commanders embezzle food and even kitchen oil from the military, forcing soldiers into extreme undernourishment, the source said.

According to the military source, the food situation these days has become worse under the current director of the general political bureau of the Korean People's Army (KPA) Hwang Pyong-so, who is said to be incompetent in the everyday aspects of military affairs, especially at food rationing.

In comparison, Hwang's predecessor, Choe Ryong-hae, provided more supplies such as seafood, nutritional pills and hardtack, but these supplementary foods were stopped after Choe stepped down.

Since the inauguration of Hwang, who has been lax on dealing with corruption, soldiers have begun to complain about him, the media outlet claimed.