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Kim Jong Un weeps as he urges North Korean women to have more children | India News

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NEW DELHI: In an emotionally charged address, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un implored the women of his country to have more children and raise them as communists, visibly moved to tears during his speech.
During the Fifth National Conference of Mothers in Pyongyang, Kim Jong Un emphasized the importance of reversing the country’s declining birth rates.He said, “stopping the decline in birthrates and providing good child care and education are all our family affairs that we should solve together with our mothers,” while wiping away tears with a handkerchief.
Kim Jong Un’s speech focused on the role of women in bolstering the nation’s strength through childbirth and child-rearing. He urged, “Preventing a decline in birth rates and good childcare are all of our housekeeping duties we need to handle while working with mothers.”
The North Korean leader also highlighted the significant responsibility mothers have in shaping the future of the country. “All mothers should fulfill their responsibility and duty assumed before society and families with confidence in and optimism about the prospects of our socialist construction and a changed ideal society to come in the near future,” he said. He further added, “They have a heavy mission to bring up their children to be pillars of socialist and communist construction and masters of future society.”
According to data from South Korea‘s government statistics agency, the total fertility rate in North Korea, indicating the average number of children a woman is expected to have in her lifetime, was 1.79 in 2022. This figure shows a decrease from 1.88 in 2014. Despite this decline, North Korea‘s fertility rate remains higher than that of South Korea, which recorded a rate of 0.78 in 2022, a significant drop from 1.20 in 2014.
South Korea’s fertility rate, the lowest among developed nations, is attributed to various factors that discourage childbirth. These include a struggling job market, an intensely competitive educational system, limited child care support, and a work culture that often makes it challenging for women to balance careers and family life.
Observers note that despite being one of the poorest countries globally, North Korea’s demographic trends are similar to those in wealthier nations. Ahn Kyung-su, head of DPRKHEALTH.ORG, a site dedicated to North Korean health issues, explains, “Many families in North Korea also don’t intend to have more than one child these days as they know they need lots of money to raise their kids, send them to school and help them get jobs.”
Ahn, who has interviewed numerous North Korean defectors, also mentioned that the widespread smuggling of South Korean TV dramas and movies over the past two decades, portraying elevated social status for women, has likely influenced North Korean women’s family planning decisions.
North Korea’s history with birth control programs dates back to the 1970s and 1980s, aimed at slowing postwar population growth. The country’s fertility rate saw a significant drop following a famine in the mid-1990s, which reportedly caused hundreds of thousands of deaths, as noted by the Seoul-based Hyundai Research Institute in a report.
The institute’s report also highlighted concerns for North Korea’s future, stating, “Given North Korea lacks resources and technological advancements, it could face difficulties to revive and develop its manufacturing industry if sufficient labor forces are not provided.”
In response to the declining birth rates, North Korean state media reported this year that the government has introduced benefits for families with three or more children. These incentives include free housing, state subsidies, complimentary food, medicine, household goods, and educational advantages for children.
South Korea’s statistics agency estimates North Korea’s population at 25.7 million. However, the Hyundai institute forecasts a population decline starting from 2034, with an expected decrease to 23.7 million by 2070.
Ahn suggests that Kim Jong Un’s frequent public appearances with his young daughter, Ju Ae, might be part of efforts to encourage larger families. Other experts, however, speculate that these appearances could be more about positioning her as a potential heir to her father.
(With inputs from agencies)



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