North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has expressed concern over his country's food situation after its agriculture industry was devastated by powerful typhoons and flooding last year, state-run media reported Wednesday.
At a plenary meeting of the Central Committee of the ruling Workers' Party of Korea that kicked off Tuesday, Kim said the food situation is "getting tense" for the people and instructed party officials to "take a positive measure for settling the problem," according to the official Korean Central News Agency.
During the plenary meeting, the first since February, the ruling party is expected to discuss how to prop up the nation's farming sector and anti-epidemic measures, in addition to analyzing international and domestic situations.
North Korea claims it has had no coronavirus infections. Amid fears the virus -- first detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan in late 2019 -- may spread across its borders, the country has cut off traffic to and from China and Russia since early last year.
North Korea is believed to be vulnerable to infectious diseases against a backdrop of chronic shortages of food and medical supplies triggered by international economic sanctions aimed at thwarting Pyongyang's nuclear and ballistic missile ambitions.
Previously, it barred foreigners from entering the nation during the 2003 outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, and the Ebola epidemic in West Africa in 2014.
North Korea's economy, meanwhile, has languished further as the pandemic has stifled its trade with China and the agricultural industry has become sluggish, likely making it more difficult for its citizens to receive adequate daily necessities, including food.