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N. Korea's Kim calls for measures to prevent fall in birth rate

Dec. 4, 2023 - 11:20 By Yonhap
This photo, on Monday, shows the North's leader Kim Jong-un attending the Fifth National Meeting of Mothers held the previous day in Pyongyang. (Yonhap)

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has called for measures to prevent a decrease in the country's birth rate in the first national meeting of mothers in 11 years, state media reported Monday.

Kim said he has thought about North Korean mothers whenever he faced difficulties in steering state and party affairs, and stressed the role of mothers in such various fields as helping resolve "non-social" problems and promoting the unity of society.

"There are also issues of preventing the birth rate from falling and well nurturing children," he said at the fifth National Meeting of Mothers that opened Sunday in Pyongyang, according to the official Korean Central News Agency.

North Korea's total fertility rate -- the number of children that are expected to be born to a women over her lifetime -- came to 1.8 in 2023, according to data posted on the website of the UN Population Fund.

Hong Min, a senior research fellow at the Korea Institute for National Unification, a state-run think tank, said North Korea appears to have held the meeting to help tackle the low birth rate and urge families to do their part in strengthening youths' loyalty to the nation.

North Korea last held a national meeting of mothers in 2012. The inaugural gathering took place in November 1961. (Yonhap)