Let them eat candy and drink booze, says North

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Let them eat candy and drink booze, says North

North Korea is giving out food, candies and booze to get its people to celebrate Sunday’s 65th anniversary of the Workers’ Party - and the ascension of Kim Jong-un as successor to leader Kim Jong-il.

The special release of rations is viewed by analysts as an attempt to woo the public over to the new heir, despite his youth and inexperience.

To complement the massive military parade and fireworks show marking the anniversary Sunday, the government issued orders to distribute special rations to mark the occasion, according to a report from North Korea’s Rodong Sinmun in August and other well-informed sources in the North. Rodong Sinmun is the official newspaper for the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party.

In an unusual move, the paper specified the items to be distributed to each household: one bottle of alcohol, one kilogram of meat, one kilogram of cooking oil, one kilogram of sweets and two or more daily necessities, such as textiles.

Presents for the public to mark special events or national holidays, such as the birthdays of the late Kim Il Sung or Kim Jong-il, were common until the 1990s when North Korea experienced heavy floods and a steep decline in food production, sparking famines.

According to North Korea watchers in South Korea, sources in North Hamgyong Province were also told that celebratory rations of booze and cooking oil would be handed out.

“The amount distributed, the timing and type of goods handed out may vary among locations in North Korea,” a South Korean government official said.

By Christine Kim [christine.kim@joongang.co.kr]
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