North Korean cannibalism fears amid claims starving people forced to desperate measures
The reports come as sanctions against the country are tightened against the backdrop of angry rhetoric over missile testing
Reports from inside the secretive famine-hit pariah state, North Korea, claim a man has been executed after murdering his two children for food.
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.
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."
A middle ranking official of the ruling Korean Workers Party said: "In a village in Chongdan county, a man who went mad with hunger boiled his own child, ate his flesh and was arrested"
A new UN agreement, passed on Tuesday, extended sanctions already imposed on North Korea after it held nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009.
The current rise in tensions and extension of sanctions follows Pyonyang's defiant decision to push ahead with a long-range rocket launch on December 12 - insisting it was a peaceful mission to place a satellite in orbit.
Despite the insistence of the regime that the test was peaceful the rest of the world saw it as a banned ballistic missile test.
The United States, supported by Japan and South Korea, spearheaded the new UN resolution.
This week North Korea once again raised the level of rhetoric over sanctions, threatening war with its neighbours in the south saying: "If the South Korean puppet regime of traitors directly participates in the so-called UN 'sanctions', strong physical countermeasures would be taken," the North's Committee for Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland said.
- 1 Universities aren't working us hard enough, say undergraduates
- 2 Lego letter from the 1970s still offers a powerful message to parents 40 years later
- 4 Woman opens professional cuddling shop – gets 10,000 customers in first week
- 5 Grayson Perry: London needs affordable housing because 'rich people don't create culture'
Oscar Pistorius terrorised Reeva before he shot her dead, says June Steenkamp
Audacious North Korean kidnap plot foiled at Paris airport as 'Asian men' attempted to bundle student onto plane
Heroin to be prescribed to Canadian addicts by doctors
Tower Bridge glass walkway 'smashed' by night-time visitor dropping bottle of beer
The young are the new poor: Sharp increase in number of under-25s living in poverty, while over-65s are better off than ever
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
'Beast of Bolsover' Dennis Skinner takes Ukip MP Mark Reckless to task moments after he is sworn in
Rochester by-election: Labour MP Emily Thornberry resigns after posting white van and England flags tweet
France 'blocks' Russian sailors from boarding a warship
Exclusive: UK approved £7m Israeli arms sales in six months before Gaza conflict
Rochester aftermath: Sacking of Emily Thornberry will make work of Labour MPs '10 times harder'
£45000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...
£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This an exciting opportunity to...
£28000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Lift Engineer is required to jo...
£24000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company (Microsoft World W...