North Koreans are starving, but they're forced to pay for candies for Kim Jong-Un's birthday

WION Web Team
NEW DELHI Published: Dec 02, 2021, 02:00 PM(IST)

Kim Jong-un Photograph:( Twitter )

Story highlights

The habit of giving sweet mementos to children has long been observed in North Korea.Kim II Sung, the present leader's grandfather, founded it.Candies were provided to daycare and primary school pupils, as well as their mothers, on Kim Jong-Un's birthday in the early years of his administration.

North Korean local governments are hurrying to create candies in advance of a statewide celebration of leader Kim Jong-Un's birthday in January, but the government is forcing hungry residents to pay the bill. 

According to Radio Free Asia, at a time when the country is grappling with food shortages that are estimated to be on par with the 1990s famine, the statewide baking effort has depleted flour and sugar supplies, raising costs and diverting funds away from those who need it to purchase food. 

"Since yesterday, the price of one kilogram of flour has jumped from 12,000 won (U.S. $2.40) to 30,000 won ($6). The price of sugar has also jumped from 13,000 won to 25,000 won," a resident of Unsan, South Pyongan province, north of the capital Pyongyang, told RFA’s Korean Service.

"It’s all because the central government has ordered that each province must produce and supply confections as gifts for children from Kim Jong-Un for his birthday on January 8," said the source, who requested anonymity for security reasons.

Pyongyang's candy production lines are thought to have been the most impacted.

According to sources who requested anonymity, the central government has mandated that each province create and distribute sweet delicacies and confections for youngsters as a birthday gift from Kim. 

The habit of giving sweet mementos to children has long been observed in North Korea.

Kim II Sung, the present leader's grandfather, founded it.

Candies were provided to daycare and primary school pupils, as well as their mothers, on Kim Jong-Un's birthday in the early years of his administration.

However, beginning of 2019, this tradition has been expanded to include candy presents for all North Korean nationals, which will be handed on January 1. 

(With inputs from agencies)

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