North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has told citizens to prepare for hard times ahead, following warnings from rights groups that the country faces dire food shortages and economic instability.
Speaking at a party conference, Mr Kim appeared to compare the situation to the devastating 1990s famine, estimated to have killed hundreds of thousands.
North Korea has shut its borders due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Trade with China, its economic lifeline, has come to a standstill.
This is on top of existing international economic sanctions over Pyongyang’s nuclear programme.