In a striking display of emotion, North Korean President Kim Jong Un shed tears in front of thousands of women, urging them to counter the country’s declining birth rate.
Kim Jong Un exhibited a rare emotional display during his speech at the National Mothers’ Meeting in Pyongyang. Kim Jong Un visibly moved and used a handkerchief to wipe his eyes as he addressed the audience, which was captured in a widely circulated video on social media.
In his speech, Kim emphasized the critical role of women in addressing demographic challenges, referring to them as “Dear Mothers.” He highlighted the importance of preventing a decline in birth rates and ensuring proper childcare as part of national responsibilities. Kim Jong Un also pointed out the various social tasks mothers should be involved in to strengthen the nation.
The United Nations Population Fund’s 2023 data shows North Korea’s fertility rate at 1.8 children per woman, which has decreased over the years but remains higher than in some neighbouring countries. In comparison, South Korea’s fertility rate fell to a record low of 0.78 last year, and Japan’s rate dropped to 1.26.
The declining birth rates have led to specific societal issues in these countries, such as a shortage of paediatricians in South Korea and efforts like matchmaking events to boost birth rates. North Korea, with a population of about 25 million, has faced significant challenges, including food shortages and natural disasters impacting agriculture, which have influenced its demographic trends.