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Video smuggled out of North Korea shows deep hunger crisis

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Video smuggled out of North Korea shows deep hunger crisis

Soldiers, who used to be immune from famine, now say they also are going hungry

Newly released footage shot over several months by an undercover North Korean journalist suggests that Kim Jong Il's iron fist is weakening.

There are some images we might expect to see in a reclusive state known to be experiencing a famine — children caked in dirt begging for food from people who have nothing to give.

But the video also sheds new light on how severe the food shortage is.

For the first time, it seems, the all-powerful army, which used to be immune from famine, is also going hungry, reports the Australian Broadcasting Corp, which obtained the exclusive footage this week after it was smuggled out to China.

"Everybody is weak," says one young North Korean soldier in the video. "Within my troop of 100 comrades, half of them are malnourished," he said. The state no longer has the rice rations to give them.

Another recent report told of a leaked official document out of North Korea chronicling at least five instances of cannibalism.

Kim's grip on power depends on the military. And a military full of soldiers with empty bellies is a recipe for discontent.

The video also shows North Koreans working on a private railway for the dictator's son and heir apparent, Kim Jong Un.

This article originally appeared on GlobalPost.

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hunger, kim jong il, korea, north korea

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