Kim Jong Un Begs and Cries

( – North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un put on an emotional display at a motherhood conference recently. Pleading with his country’s women to have more communist babies, the hereditary ruler appeared to wipe tears from his face. It was dramatic and even cheesy, but North Korea does have a real problem with its birth rate.

Kim Gets Emotional

On December 3, Kim, who inherited the position of Supreme Leader from two previous generations of the Kim family, addressed the Fifth National Conference of Mothers in Pyongyang, North Korea’s capital city. In his speech, he called on women to have more babies and bring them up as communists. According to the 40-year-old dictator, reversing a falling birth rate is one of the country’s priorities. He said stabilizing the population and raising children are “our family affairs that we should solve together with our mothers.” At that point, he wiped his cheeks with a handkerchief, apparently to remove tears of emotion.

Kim went on to urge mothers to fill their children with “optimism about the prospects of our socialist construction” and teach them to be “masters of future society.” The speech is a remarkable public retreat from decades of official promotion of birth control in the communist rogue state.

What’s The Problem?

After the Korean War, the North Korean population rose rapidly; between 1949 and 1993, it rose from 9.6 million to 21.2 million. Starting in the late 1970s, the regime began promoting birth control in an attempt to slow the growth rate. It succeeded too well; although the Stalinist dictatorship is a poor country, its fertility rates are now mirroring those seen in wealthier countries –- people are having fewer children. In fact, the birth rate per woman has now fallen to 1.8, significantly below the replacement level of 2.1. Experts now predict North Korea’s population will begin shrinking from 2034.

Part of the fall in birth rates is down to a series of famines in the 1990s that killed an unknown, but almost certainly huge, number of North Koreans. On top of that, North Korean parents increasingly want to be able to spend money on the children they do have, including paying for better education, and that means they’re choosing to have fewer. If the trend continues, though, the communist party will start to run out of young people to recruit into its huge military and exploit to support the regime’s leaders in luxury. It’s no wonder Kim finds that upsetting.

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