Kim Jong Un, the supreme leader of North Korea, issued an emotional plea to his country’s women to have more children during a Sunday meeting.
“Preventing a decline in birth rates and good childcare are all of our housekeeping duties we need to handle while working with mothers,” Un said during his address to a National Mothers’ Meeting in the country’s capital. (RELATED: North Korean Diplomat Takes Pot Shots At US Ambassador During Rare UN Appearance)
The supreme leader burst into tears during the meeting and could be seen wiping his face with a handkerchief.
NEW: North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un starts crying as he begs North Koreans to have more babies.
North Korean birth rates are about to skyrocket 📈
The incident happened at the National Mothers Meeting hosted by the dictator who started dabbing his eyes in an effort to get… pic.twitter.com/F8xg0dZ05J
— Collin Rugg (@CollinRugg) December 5, 2023
Many audience members were also seen crying and dabbing their eyes with handkerchiefs during the meeting.
“[W]e are confronted with a host of social tasks that our mothers should join to tackle,” Un said, listing socialist education, collectivism and stemming the birth rate problems as such tasks, the Daily Mail reported.
The United Nations Population Fund estimated the fertility rate of the country in 2023 was 1.8. This number is below the population replacement level of 2.1 children per woman. North Korea is among the poorest countries in the world, with about 60 percent of the population, according to the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis. The country has historically suffered from food shortages, the BBC reported.
However, lack of fertility is not just a North Korean problem. Nearly half of the world’s population in 2017 resided in countries with a below replacement fertility level, per the Institute for Family Studies. South Korea’s fertility rate in 2022 was 0.78, NBC News reported. South Korea suffers these problems despite sharing none of its northern counterpart’s chronic issues.