Legal Insurrection readers may recall that in August, I reported that the world is looking at a potential shortage of bacon and other pork products as African Swine Fever, nicknamed “Pig Ebola,” has spread through Asia.

Presently, North Korea has only reported 22 pig this May from the deadly and highly contagious disease. However, wayward feral pigs caught along its border with South Korea have officials concerned that the rogue nation is hiding an African swine fever disaster.

Five wild boars were found dead in or near border areas separating the two countries this month before being tested positive for the viral haemorrhagic disease, officials in South Korea said. The finding reflects the freedom with which animals roam the 4km-wide buffer zone that divides the nations and creates an involuntary park and refuge for fauna.

It also hints at a spillover of the deadly virus from North Korea, where unofficial reports indicate that the disease is spreading out of control. South Korea has deployed helicopters to disinfect parts of the 250km-long border barrier, near which more than a dozen outbreaks have occurred on farms since the virus was first reported there a month ago.

African swine fever has spread to almost all areas of North Korea, and pigs in the western province of North Pyongan have been “wiped out”, said Ms Lee Hye-hoon, who chairs the National Assembly’s intelligence committee, citing South Korea’s National Intelligence Service.

A North Korean defector says that the loss of this major source of protein will hit the North Korean diet hard.

Cho Chunghi fled the state in 2011 after spending a decade working for the government animal disease control program and said: “Pork accounts for about 80% of North Korea’s protein consumption and with global sanctions taking place, it’s going to be hard for the country to find an alternative protein source.

“The virus is extremely destructive as people are now unable to make money through raising pigs, while the country’s economy is restrained.”

He warned that as pigs on individual farms outnumber those on collective ones, it would be almost impossible for Pyongyang to be able to halt the spread, given its resources.

Meanwhile, the highly-anticipated resumption of nuclear disarmament talks between the United States and North Korea ended in another breakdown this weekend.

The working-level negotiations started Saturday afternoon (KST) in the Swedish capital of Stockholm and lasted for about eight hours amid hopes for a possible breakthrough in the dialogue that had been stalled in the wake of the failed Hanoi summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in February. But once again, the two parties failed to narrow their differences on the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. The North’s chief negotiator Kim Myong-gil announced early Sunday the “breakdown” of the talks in a rare meeting with reporters outside the North Korean embassy.

The failed talks come as a bane to the government here, as a series of peace drives led by President Moon Jae-in will likely be delayed or again come to nothing in the aftermath of the suspended dialogue.

If talks resume “when pigs fly,” then perhaps there will be a summit soon….because North Korea’s pork supply looks like it’s getting angel wings.

 

 
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