London: In a poignant moment at the 5th National Mother’s Meeting in Pyongyang, Kim Jong-Un, the leader of North Korea, shed tears as he addressed the critical issue of the nation’s declining birth rate.
Before an audience of thousands of women adorned in traditional attire, Jong-Un begged collective efforts to reverse this trend, emphasizing the pivotal role mothers play in tackling a spectrum of social challenges.
“Preventing a decline in birth rates and good childcare are all of our housekeeping duties we need to handle while working with mothers,” pleaded Jong-Un, highlighting the urgency of the situation.
He stressed that the declining birth rate is just one facet of a broader set of social tasks faced by North Korea, including nurturing children to carry forward the revolution, eliminating non-socialist practices, and promoting family harmony.
The gravity of Jong-Un’s plea becomes apparent when examining the stark statistics presented by Our World Data. Since 1967, North Korea has experienced a substantial decline in birth rates, plummeting from 39.24 (per 1000 births) to 13.24 in 2021. Disturbingly, the UN’s data, which recorded 542,826 births in 1967, has steadily dwindled to 343,885 in 2021, with projections indicating a further decrease in the years ahead.
Jong-Un’s urgent appeal unveils a sobering reality within the isolated country, with an increasing number of citizens seeking refuge in neighboring nations such as South Korea and Japan. According to the United Nations’ World Population Prospects Report, the child mortality rate in North Korea was reported at 1.6% in 2019.
UNICEF’s findings emphasize the critical challenges faced by North Korean children, with over half of under-five deaths occurring in the first 28 days of life due to preterm birth complications, infections, and hypothermia.
Pneumonia and diarrhea further contribute to under-five mortality. Notably, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea identifies malnutrition as the leading cause of death in infants and children.
As Kim Jong-Un emotional display addresses the nation’s mothers, it is evident that the declining birth rate poses a severe threat to the well-being and future of North Korea.