Three millions starved deaths in the mid to late 1990s implicatively shows the condition of the North Korean human rights. The statistics mean at least from 1,000 to as high as 2,000 people died of hunger a day. What matters is that the recurrent semi-starvation still continues. It is clear that the North Korean chronic food shortages do not result from inevitable natural disasters but from the policy failures of the regime.
North Koreans are hungry. Frankly speaking, they are compelled to remain hungry by the Kim Jong Il regime. There are three causes of famine and continuous food shortages there.
The first reason is so-called 'Military First' policy. Kim Jong Il owns huge amount of dollars, with which he is purchasing and building lethal weapons instead of food. A nuclear ballistic test in October, 2006 is estimated to have spent $280 million to as much as $790 million. That is an amount of money which can import up to roughly 7.9 million tons of corns (2.47 million tons of rice from southeast Asia), staple food of North Koreans. The authorities asked for aid when World Food Programme(WFP) workers visited Pyongyang in March 2007, saying "We are short of one million tons of food." If the communist regime had not had the nuclear test at that time, they could have bought maximum 6.9 million tons of corn(1.47 million tons of southeast Asian rice) as well as compensating for one million tons in need. Only one nuclear test blew out the food on which North Korean population can live for about 8 years.
Furthermore, the military food stored in North Korea is known to be about 1.5 million tons. It counterbalances one million tons of rice in lack, leaving surplus of 500 thousand tons. In 1999, starved death number hit culmination. However, they reduced food import to less than 200,000 ton per year. And they purchased 40 MiG-29 fighters and 8 military helicopters from Kazakhstan.
Kim Jong Il himself has admitted that he devotes himself into developing and buying new weapons instead of food and fertilizers. On April 22nd in 1999, he was interviewed by Ro-dong Sin Mun(daily news paper). "Our enemies say the satellite (Daepodong Missile) launch cost hundreds of millions of dollars. That is real. I considered how good if I had invested the money in people's lives. I know people live in hunger and humble. To save the dignity and destiny of the nation and for the tomorrow's rich and strong Father land, I allowed the fund to be used for the field".
The second reason for chronic famine is the class discrimination. Kim Jong Il divides people into 3 classes. There are core, wavering, and hostile classed with 51 subcategories. The communist regime brags 'three frees' including free distribution, free medication, and free education. However, this three-free-system has been broken down for a long time. In the mid-1990, Kim Jong Il stopped food rationing to wavering and hostile classes which comprise the absolute majority in the population. Quitting ration in a communist state means decease. Former Japanese correspondent in Pyongyang for Akahada, Japan communist party newspaper, wrote <Chosun War>. In the book he describes the 1990s mass starvation, as follows.
"Food was distributed to the core classes in Pyongyang, the party officials, and the army. It was not distributed to the rest of inhabitants except farmers. After all, the class discrimination of the Kim Jong Il government drove the weak and helpless into the collective starvation. Most of fragile children and senior people among the family members died of hunger.... These massacre came from the communist system plus the intention of Kim Jong Il."
According to Hujimoto Genji, former Japanese cook for Kim Jong Il, the dictator always said,
"It is beneficial to me for the sick and unproductive people to die out as soon as possible. Only with the military united in one body and the three-million party members, our democratic republic will be forever."
The third reason is the hero-worshiping of dictators. The totalitarians have been pouring astronomical figures of money into making Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il worshiped like a god. According to Christian Science Monitor on January 3rd in 2007, The North Korean government budget for idolizing Kims has increased from 19% in 1990s to 38.5% in 2004, and to 40% in 2007.
Despite continuing food shortages the buildings and facilities for idolizing Kim Il Sung and his son have been constructed. After Kim Il Sung died in 1994, Kim Jong Il spent $900 million on building Kumsusan Memorial palace, where Kim Il Sung's mummy is in. With $900 million, they can purchase the corns which North Korean people live on for three years. Kim Jong Il constructed the memorial for the mummy of Kim Il Sung with thousands of people dying of hunger in the streets. He bartered the food for the grave of the dead.
It is impossible for children to grow up well with people dying out. North Korean birth rate, 1.94, is higher than that of South Korea. However, its infant mortality rate in 2006 was 42 per 1000, which is 14 times higher than that of South Korea.
Statistics by international human rights groups like UNICEF also indicates same facts. According to that, 77.9% of the children below 5 years old, and 37 percent of the whole children suffer from severe malnutrition. 45 percent of the whole children grow abnormal. For example, 14-years-old boys in North Korea weigh as heavy as South Korean 8-year-old boys. 11-year-old boys in North Korea are as tall as South Korean 4-year-old boys. One third of the women who rear children undergo malnutrition or anemia.
Average life expectancy reflects the same condition. The average life expectancy for North Koreans is shorter than that of South Koreans by about 15 years. In 2008, the average expectancy life of the North Korean residents was 64.3, while the that of South Korean is 79. 60 years after Korean War, Kims' dictatorship system has swallowed the life expectancy of 23 million residents by 15 years.