This dramatic turn of events occurred on Sunday, December 3 while he was addressing a vast gathering at the National Mothers’ Meeting in Pyongyang.
‘Dear mothers…’ - North Korea's Kim Jong-un in tears, begs women to give birth [video]
North Korea's leader, Kim Jong-un, broke into tears as he pleaded with the women of the nation to increase childbirth because its birthrate is declining.
Visibly emotional, the dictator was captured in footage wiping away tears with a handkerchief during his carefully orchestrated plea. Addressing the women as “Dear Mothers,” Kim Jong-un stressed the collective responsibility to prevent a decline in birth rates and to ensure proper childcare.
“Preventing a decline in birth rates and good childcare are all of our housekeeping duties we need to handle while working with mothers,” he declared passionately. The dictator highlighted a range of "social tasks" that mothers should join forces to address.
“These tasks include bringing up their children so that they will steadfastly carry forward our revolution, eliminating the recently-increasing non-socialist practices, promoting family harmony and social unity, establishing a sound way of cultural and moral life, making the communist virtues and traits of helping and leading one another forward prevail over our society, stopping the declining birth rate, and taking good care of children and educating them effectively. These belong to our common family affairs, which we need to deal with by joining hands with our mothers,” Kim Jong-un said.
According to estimates from the United Nations Population Fund, North Korea's average fertility rate was recorded at 1.8 in 2023, signalling a continued decline in birth rates over recent decades. Certain neighbourhoods in North Korea showed relatively higher fertility rates, while others experienced a downward trend.
A report from the Seoul-based Hyundai Research Institute raised concerns about North Korea's ability to revive and develop its manufacturing industry without an adequate labour force. The plea from Kim Jong-un underscored the gravity of the situation.
The broader trend of declining birth rates was not unique to North Korea. South Korea and Japan are also grappling with the same issue of birth rate decline. South Korea saw its fertility rate plummet to a record low of 0.78 the previous year, exacerbating a shortage of paediatricians. In response, the city organized matchmaking events to encourage childbirth.
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