SEOUL, Jan. 10 (Yonhap) -- North Korea's official newspaper called for increased production of food Friday, saying self-reliance in its food supply is instrumental in ensuring the communist state's existence and dignity in the face of "murderous" global sanctions.
North Korea's media outlets have called for "self-reliance" in various areas, including food production, since leader Kim Jong-un urged construction of an economy independent of outside help to brace for a protracted fight against sanctions and pressure by the United States.
"The ultimate objective of murderous sanctions is to cause hardship in people's livelihood, weaken their belief in revolution and eventually destruct our country from inside," the Rodong Sinmun said in an article.
"We should turn the hardship into a chance to strengthen our self-reliance capability and internal power," it added. "Without a decisive increase in agricultural production, our country's dignity and self-existence could be undermined."
The paper said that a shortage of rice could make it inevitable to ask for help from others, noting that self-reliance will be impossible without safeguarding a stable and sufficient supply of food.
In his New Year's Day message, leader Kim emphasized the importance of a "self-reliant" economy and urged a "drastically" increase in agricultural production, saying there is no expectation of the U.S. lifting sanctions against Pyongyang amid a lack of progress in denuclearization talks.
North Korea has claimed that it recorded a bumper harvest last year, but observers say the North has been suffering from a chronic food shortage due to crippling global sanctions and unfavorable weather conditions.
Kim visited a fertilizer plant under construction earlier this week in his first "field guidance trip" this year, highlighting the importance of agricultural production to feed his people.
Landslide victory likely to strengthen Moon's foreign policy hand
Nuclear talks in limbo one year after no-deal Hanoi summit
Moon hopes for spring summit with Trump, feasibility still a question
Trump's change in N.K. diplomacy team, reelection focus muddy prospects of U.S. engagement
(News Focus) Seoul's push for individual tours to North meaningful but many hurdles ahead: experts