The Pandemic in North Korea: Lessons from the 1990s Famine

by Marcus Noland

East-West Wire

Publisher: Honolulu, HI: East-West Center
Publication Date: 6 June 2020
Binding: electronic
Pages: 2
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North Korea's response to the COVID-19 pandemic is oddly reminiscent of the catastrophic famine that overtook the country in the 1990s. Then as now, the onset and severity of the problem caught the North Korean leadership unawares, and their first response was to deny that a problem existed. Eventually the government reversed course and began exaggerating the distress in order to obtain international aid. This pattern may well occur again in the face of the pandemic.