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Cannibalism - North Korea - Are We Responsible?

The grim suggestion that North Koreans are turning to cannibalism were reported by the Asia Press, and published in the Sunday Times.

They claim a 'hidden famine' in the farming provinces of North and South Hwanghae has killed 10,000 people, and there are fears that cannibalism is spreading throughout the country.

The reports come as sanctions are tightened against the backdrop of angry rhetoric over missile testing.

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In one particularly disturbing report, a man was said to have dug up his grandchild's corpse. Other lurid reports included the suggestion that some men boiled their children before eating them.

Asia Press is a specialist news agency based in Osaka, Japan, which claims to have recruited a network of "citizen journalists" inside North Korea. The reports are considered credible.

Interviews have led Asia Press to conclude that more than 10,000 people have probably died in North and South Hwanghae provinces, south of Pyongyang, the capital.

North Korea has not confirmed or denied any reports of the deaths.

One informant, based in South Hwanghae, said: "In my village in May, a man who killed his own two children and tried to eat them was executed by a firing squad.

"While his wife was away on business he killed his eldest daughter and, because his son saw what he had done, he killed his son as well. When the wife came home, he offered her food, saying: 'We have meat.'

"But his wife, suspicious, notified the Ministry of Public Security, which led to the discovery of part of their children's bodies under the eaves."

Jiro Ishimaru, from Asia Press said: 'Particularly shocking were the numerous testimonies that hit us about cannibalism.'

Another of the citizen journalists, Gu Gwang-ho, said: "There was an incident when a man was arrested for digging up the grave of his grandchild and eating the remains."

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The reports come as sanctions against the country are tightened against the backdrop of angry rhetoric over missile testing

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