Kim Jong-un has vowed that North Korea will 'never have to tighten its belt again'. But can this isolated, autocratic and impoverished country escape the ghosts of famine?
As every North Korean schoolchild knows, leader Kim Jong-un has succeeded in establishing his country as a nuclear power, and even sent a satellite into orbit.
Now, with the nation he inherited from his father squeezed by prolonged international sanctions and largesse from its former communist allies mostly gone, Kim is calling on farmers to win him another battle.
In one of his first public statements, in 2012, he promised the nation it will "never have to tighten its belt again" — a reference to the years of famine and economic crisis in the 1990s that left possibly hundreds of thousands dead. Even before the seeds were in the ground this spring, he made that call again.
Reporting by Eric Talmadge, Associated Press.