North Korea. Crisis. Sweets for Kim Jong Un’s birthday

  • Giving sweets to children in connection with the feast of the country’s leader goes back to the founder of the country, Kim Il Sung. Since 2019, the leader has been giving sweets to every child in the country
  • In order to buy the raw materials necessary for the production of sweets, the local authorities of the North Pyongan Province imposed a tax of PLN 5,000. won for each household
  • The current economic havoc and widespread food shortages are caused by North Korea’s closed border with China and the suspension of all trade with Beijing at the start of the pandemic
  • You can find more such stories on the Onet homepage

While North Korea is struggling with food shortages comparable to the famine of the 1990s, the authorities are not going to abandon the tradition of celebrating Kim Jong Un’s birthday. Giving sweets to children in connection with the feast of the country’s leader goes back to the founder of the country, Kim Il Sung.

At the beginning of Kim Jong Un’s reign on January 8, candies were delivered to future mothers and students in kindergartens and primary schools. However, from 2019, the action was moved to January 1, and the leader is giving sweets to every child in the country.


Photo: KIM Won Jin / AFP / AFP

Candy production line at Unha Taesong food factory in Pyongyang, North Korea

“The price of 1 kg of flour has increased from 12,000 won ($ 2.40) to 30,000 won ($ 6), and the price of sugar has jumped from 13,000 won to 25,000 won,” a Unsan resident told RFA in South Pyongan Province.

The amount of imported flour and sugar available in local markets is very limited. “Prices for flour and sugar will continue to rise until the food factories stop producing sweets.” – analyzes the economic situation of North Korea Radio Free Asia.

The current economic havoc and widespread food shortages are being caused North Korea’s closed border with China and the suspension of all trade with Beijing at the start of the pandemic, almost two years ago.

No food imports to bridge the gap between domestic production and demand made the shortages more apparent. The closed border also makes it difficult to harvest enough sugar for sweets, as most of it was imported from China before the pandemic.

As prices rise, some local governments force people to pay more contributions.

“In order to buy the raw materials necessary for the production of sweets, the local authorities of North Pyongan Province, imposed a tax of PLN 5,000 won for each household“- reveals Radio Free Asia.

Local authorities are expected to stop producing sweets by December 20, therefore, checks on the distribution of flour and sugar in the province began to ensure that the factories were supplied with enough of each ingredient. As a result, even fewer products enter the market.

“They even demanded that each house provide one egg for the production of sweets. Residents buy them as a donation, so as a consequence there is also a shortage of eggs on the market “- Radio Free Asia reported and quoting one of its informants:”The townspeople are angry that the authorities are reaching into the pockets of the people in such a difficult timejust to make candies for Kim Jong Un’s birthday.

Source: Radio Free Asia, Al Jazeera

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