Daily NK has confirmed that the protracted closure of the Sino-North Korean border is having a major impact on food provisions to North Korean troops on the border. 

Daily NK’s continuous tracking of a specific border patrol unit in Yanggang Province (left unspecified for security reasons) since the closure of the border in January of last year has determined that the troops have never received their proper daily ration of 750 grams per person.

Rations to the unit were reduced to 500 grams per person between March and September of last year. In October, they rose to 600 grams.

However, they were again reduced to 500 grams this January. Between April and August, the troops reportedly received no rations at all.

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A sentry post on the Sino-North Korean border in Sakju County, North Pyongan Province. / Image: Daily NK

Rations were provided in September, but they amounted to just 400 grams per person, including unhusked corn.

A source said border patrol troops responded to the situation by obtaining food from local residents where they were stationed.

This is because commanders have ordered units to use “whatever means necessary” to obtain 20 kilograms of food per officer, including rice, corn, potatoes, wheat, and barley.

The source said soldiers went to obtain food from locals, but in the end, this also led to theft and other incidents. He said border patrol troops who once had trouble-free access to food have been reduced to a “pack of thieves preying on the property of the people.”

He added that since the closure of the border, unit ration systems have collapsed to a state akin to the “Arduous March” of the 1990s. Even commanders are worrying since units are not receiving the food and daily necessities required for training ahead of December’s winter exercises. 

Daily NK reported on Nov. 16 that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un issued an order early in the month calling on local party organizations to take charge of feeding local military units.

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