A woman and a child lay a bouquet of flowers as they pay their respects before the statues of late North Korean leaders Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il to mark the 10-year anniversary of the death of Kim Jong Il, the father of current leader Kim Jong Un, in Pyongyang on Dec. 16, 2021. (Photo: AFP)

March 13 2023

Government officials in a North Korean province have urged women to have more children as an act of “greatest patriotism” to help boost the military numbers, says a report.

The message was part of a series of ideological lectures arranged by North Korean officials for housewives in the northeastern province of North Hamgyong, Radio Free Asia reported on March 8.

“Last week, a lecture was held on active support for the People’s Army, saying that having many children and sending them to the People’s Army is the greatest patriotism,” an unnamed North Hamgyong source told RFA on the condition of anonymity. 

The lectures were conducted in advance as part of International Women’s Day on March 8.

A second unnamed source in Ryanggang said that the lecturers had “introduced some patriots who sent seven or eight of their kids to the military as an example.”

“The lecturer emphasized the need to have a patriotic spirit that puts the needs of the country ahead of the family, like these women have,” the source further added saying that the activity might have been a ploy to collect “donations from housewives to support the military.”

During the lectures, the participants were reminded of the patriotic spirit of the North Korean women who supported soldiers during the 1950-53 Korean war.

“The lecture said that all women should learn from the patriotic spirit of the Namgang village women who supported the front lines in the 1950s,” the second source said.

During the Korean war, women from the small village in the eastern province of Kangwon are said to have shuttled ammunition and food to North Korean soldiers fighting nearby.

Their exploits were documented in a film, and they are now portrayed by North Korea as one of the chief examples of female patriotism.

North Korea’s most patriotic women – those who send more children to the army – are honored with a trip to Pyongyang, the North Korean capital.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un personally invites these mothers to be special representatives to important military celebrations, sources say.

“Kim Jong-un met with them and took commemorative photos,” the North Hamgyong source said.

“He also had them visit various places in Pyongyang, and benevolently gave them the opportunity to rest at the Yangdok Hot Spring Resort,” the source further added.

The visits included participating in the 75th Army Foundation Day events held in mid-February in Pyongyang.

The women also got the opportunity in July to participate in the anniversary of the 1953 armistice that ended the Korean War, which the North Korean administration hails as the “Day of Victory in the Great Fatherland Liberation War.”

The lecturers also informed the participants that each city, county, and province is to register people as “military support enthusiasts.”

North Korea makes up for its lack of advanced technology through the sheer numbers of its military personnel, observers say.

According to Global Fire Power, a website tracking defense-related information from 145 nations, North Korea has around 1.2 million active military personnel, and around 600,000 reserve personnel.

The communist-ruled nation ranks 17 among the 45 Asian nations and 34 among 145 nations on the Global Fire Power Index.

Every able-bodied North Korean man must serve seven or eight years in the military to maintain such a vast number of personnel readily available for active military warfare,  RFA reported. Women on the other hand are urged to join active military duty for up to five years.

The number of women who enlist has increased due to a drop in the number of men who join the North Korean military, it added. – UCA News