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Vol. 38-3 (December 2023) The Right to Food and Responsibility to Protect in North Korea: In the Face of Food Availability Decline and Food Entitlement Decline (Man-ho Heo)


The North Korean authorities have the responsibility to protect (R2P) their people from starvation. Yet, reports of death from starvation in North Korea have been consistent since the widespread famine during the so-called “Arduous March.” According to Amartya Sen, in a society with massive starvation and food refugees, famine crises are not merely due to food availability decline (FAD). Instead, the dominant variable in such crises is the food entitlement decline (FED) of vulnerable social groups. Therefore, since the repeated failure of the North Korean government to fulfill its responsibility justifies and obliges the international community to act, the “food entitlement” of the North Korean people needs to be further explored from social, economic, and political perspectives to help clarify and validate such international responsibility. Focusing on Kim Jong-un's leadership since 2012, this paper explores the substance and causes of FAD and FED in North Korea and monitors any changes. To seek effective commitments from the international community, including South Korea, the current research also analyzes the impact of the persistent violation of the people's right to food on the North Korean economic-social system and political regime, and the ensuing influence on the human rights situation with reference to the cases of Vietnam, China, and Mongolia in terms of the dichotomic social differentiation, beginnings of the civil society, and political change in the late-communist stage.

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Pacific Focus - 2023 - - Issue Information (5).pdf

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k2web.previous.record Vol. 38-3 (December 2023) Is North Korea a Failed State? (Jiyoung Kim)