During a recent motherhood conference, North Korean ruler Kim Jong Un threw on quite the show. As if trying to dry his eyes, the hereditary king pleaded with the women of his country to increase the birthrate of communists. North Korea’s birth rate is a serious issue, despite the dramatic and even corny nature of the situation.
Kim Gets Emotional
Speaking at the Fifth National Conference of Mothers in Pyongyang, the capital city of North Korea, on December 3, Kim, who succeeded two earlier generations as Supreme Leader, continued a tradition begun by his family. Having more children and raising them communist was his rallying cry in his speech. One of the country’s goals, according to the 40-year-old ruler, is reversing the decreasing birth rate. “our family affairs that we should solve together with our mothers.”—he stated, referring to the tasks of population stabilization and childrearing. He then seemed to wipe away his tears by rubbing a cloth over his cheeks.
Kim continued by pleading with moms to instill in their children a sense of “optimism about the prospects of our socialist construction” and to nurture them into the “masters of future society.” After decades of official support for birth control in the communist rogue state, the address represents a stunning public retreat.
What’s The Problem?
The population of North Korea exploded after the Korean War, going from 9.6 million in 1949 to 21.2 million in 1993. The regime’s push for birth control was an effort to curb population increase that started in the late 1970s. The Stalinist rule was all too successful; despite the country’s poverty, its fertility rates are now similar to those of more affluent nations: fewer children are being born. Actually, at 1.8, the birth rate per woman is much lower than the replacement threshold of 2.1. The population of North Korea will start to decline starting in 2034, according to experts.
An undetermined but likely enormous number of North Koreans perished in a string of famines in the 1990s, which contributed to a decline in the country’s birth rate. Parents in North Korea are opting to have fewer children because they want more financial resources to invest in their children, such as sending them to private schools. But if this tendency keeps up, the communist party will soon have a shortage of young people to enlist in its massive army and use as a financial windfall for the regime’s elite. It’s understandable why that would annoy Kim.