Top Asian News 4:59 a.m. GMT

North Korea holds rare meeting on farming amid food shortage

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korean leader Kim Jong Un opened a major political conference dedicated to agricultural improvement, state media reported Monday, amid outside assessments that the country’s chronic food insecurity is getting worse. Recent unconfirmed reports have said an unknown number of North Koreans have died of hunger. But observers have seen no indication of mass deaths or famine in North Korea, though its food shortage has likely deepened due to pandemic-related curbs, persistent international sanctions and its own mismanagements. During a high-level meeting of the ruling Workers’ Party that began Sunday, senior party officials reviewed last year’s work under state goals to accomplish “rural revolution in the new era,” the official Korean Central News Agency reported.