The North Korean authorities have reportedly claimed that the absence of food distribution for many on the 70th anniversary of Kim Jong Il’s birthday on February 16th was “for the provision of yet bigger gifts on the Day of the Sun,” the 100th anniversary of Kim Il Sung’s birthday on April 15th.
“There was a flood of criticism about the total lack of holiday distribution for Gwangmyungsung Day,” a Yangkang Province source explained on February 21st, “so they began telling every organ, enterprise and people’s unit meeting, ‘That is because we are close to the 100th anniversary of the Suryeong’s birth, and the Party is preparing big gifts for that.’”
It has already been established by Daily NK through contact with varied sources that so-called “holiday distribution” for the 16th was only delivered to a small number of locations (including Pyongyang, Shinuiju and North Hamkyung Province); for one factory in Shinuiju, for example, this meant 15 pieces of soap, 1kg of sugar 1.5kg of oil, 2 bottles of liqor, 500g of beansprouts and 1kg of cabbage.
Areas with lower food stockpiles were unable to offer anything to most, with Daily NK reporting that only cadres and Party delegates received a box of domestically produced fruit.
“So enterprise managers and people’s unit heads told people that the ‘national economy is not in good enough shape, and to give gifts on the day of the General’s birth and on that of the Suryeong would not have been possible,” the source went on, adding, “We hear that ‘Comrade Supreme Commander cannot even sleep at night because he is preparing a big gift for the approaching birthday of the Suryeong.’”
According to the source, Party leaders in each province are busily holding meetings with local enterprise managers now to discuss how to achieve a Central Party decree, “Distribute products for the national holiday without fail, no matter what it takes.” As expected, one key solution is the buying in from China of items for distribution, although given limited funds this is a headache for those charged with doing so.
“Work unit heads are busy fretting over trade with China to bring in oil, laundry soap and candy, while the provincial Party Chief-Secretary is going to the local food factory every single day to reveiw the state of snack food production,” the source revealed.