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Kim Jong Un Visits Food Factory Amid Shortages in North Korea

Kim Jong Un previously visited the same factory in May 2013. He returned to inspect how the facility had updated its technology.

Kim Jong Un toured the Korean People's Army's February 20 Factory, which produces foodstuff in Pyongyang, according to images released on Saturday by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency.

In the image above, the official to the left of the North Korean leader appears to have misbuttoned his lab coat.

Kcna / X02538

Kim Jong Un previously visited the same factory in May 2013. He returned to inspect how the facility had updated its technology.

While the North has come a long way since its catastrophic famine and economic breakdowns in the mid-1990s, the U.N. agency that has provided food aid to the country says it continues to suffer food shortages made worse by frequent natural disasters, limited economic growth and the lack of seeds, fertilizers and fuel.

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According to a World Food Program report earlier this year, North Koreans had been getting larger rations of rice, potatoes and corn over the past two years. In March, the amount provided under the North's Public Distribution System was 410 grams per day, per person. North Korea hopes to increase that to 573 grams.

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WFP’s spokeswoman Silke Buhr said that according to recent information provided by the North Korean government, only about 250 grams of cereals were provided as rations in August and September. She said that rose to 400 grams in October, probably due to part of the harvest having been collected and a wheat donation from Russia.

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"Almost 1 in 3 young children are stunted, and the health status of children is highly fragile," Buhr said. "One small shock to the food system can lead to a spike in acute malnutrition; this is why WFP's programs target young children and their mothers with nutrient-dense foods."

— The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report

Gallery: Kim Jong Un Closely Inspects Hello Kitty Set at Orphanage

Kcna / X02538