Muted birthday celebration

Rumors of food shortages in North Korea seem to be popping up everywhere (even on this website), so now any change in Pyongyang’s standard operating procedure is interpreted in the media as a direct result of this condition.  Changes in regime behavior might be related to food shortages, but then again, we are talking about the DPRK, and we don’t really know how or why many decisions are made.

The latest North Korean “Kremlinology” comes from Yonhap:

With neither foreign artists singing in praise of Kim, who is dubbed the “Sun of mankind” by the communist state, nor the standard massive gymnastic display performed by about 100,000 people on show, North Koreans started the two-day holiday in a low-key manner.

The North traditionally spends a lot on celebrating one of the nation’s biggest holidays on a grand scale, inviting many foreign musicians and art groups to perform in the “April Friendship Art Festival” that marks the birthday of the nation’s founder and unveiling large public monuments.

Pyongyang, however, has scaled down the previously annual event to a biennual in what analysts said is a measure to save badly needed foreign currency because of worsening hardships facing the country.

and as for Arirang…

The Koryo Tours website claims that Arirang will take place from August to the end of September.  This could change, but it is 2-4 weeks shorter than the last couple of years (although those were interrupted by floods!).

Read the full story here:
N. Korea marks late leader’s birthday amid economic hardship
Shim Sun-ah


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