Top Asian News 3:59 a.m. GMT

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Kim compares North Korea's economic woes to 1990s famine

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has called for waging another “arduous march” to fight severe economic difficulties, for the first time comparing them to a 1990s famine that killed hundreds of thousands. Kim had previously said his country faces the “worst-ever” situation due to several factors, including the coronavirus pandemic, U.S.-led sanctions and natural disasters last summer. But it’s the first time he publicly drew parallel with the deadly famine. North Korea monitoring groups haven’t detected any signs of mass starvation or a humanitarian disaster. But Kim’s comments still suggest how seriously he views the current difficulties — which foreign observers say are the biggest test of his nine-year rule.