Government officials in North Korea are rushing to create candies ahead of a statewide celebration of leader Kim Jong-Un’s birthday in January, but the government is forcing hungry residents to pay for the candy. Radio Free Asia is reporting that at a time when the country is facing food shortages that are on par with the 1990s famine, statewide baking has depleted flour and sugar supplies, raising costs and diverting funds from those who need them 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,’ said a resident of Unsan, a city in South Pyongan province, north of Pyongyang. ‘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.
In Pyongyang, candy production lines are believed to have been most affected. Sources who requested anonymity said that the central government has given provinces the mandate to create and distribute sweets for youngsters as gifts from Kim. As is customary in North Korea, sweet mementos are given to children as a token of affection.
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It was founded by Kim II Sung, the present leader’s grandfather. In the early years of his administration, Kim Jong-un’s birthday was celebrated with candy for daycare and primary school students, as well as their mothers. As of 2019, this tradition will include candy gifts for all North Korean nationals, which will be given out on January 1.
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