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NORTH KOREA NEWSLETTER NO. 237 (Nov. 22, 2012)
*** TOPIC OF THE WEEK (Part 2)

North Korea Celebrates Its First Mother's Day with Lavish Events

SEOUL (Yonhap) -- North Korea convened its fourth National Meeting of Mothers on Nov. 15, seven years after its most recent meeting and just a day ahead of "Mother's Day" at the April 25 Culture Hall in Pyongyang. The North's first Mother's Day was celebrated across the country, according to the North's official media, including the (North) Korean Central Broadcasting Station (KCBS) and the (North) Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

   The KCNA said on Nov. 16 that posters in celebration of the holiday were put up in streets and villages across the country and many people visited flower shops and stalls to buy bouquets for their mothers.

   Photo studios were also busy providing services for families and couples. Greeting cards and commemorative stamps are currently best sellers at post offices and bookshops. The KCBS has intensively broadcast programs for mothers, while cinemas in the capital city of Pyongyang have screened feature films dealing with women's feats for the country and people.

   Art theaters and school children's palaces presented congratulatory performances exclusively for the delegates to the 4th National Meeting of Mothers and women in the city. They included a dance performance at the Pyongyang Grand Theatre, a concert by the National Symphony Orchestra at the Moranbong Theatre, acrobatic drama "Tale of Chun Hyang" at the Pyongyang Circus Theater and the light comedy "Love" at the East Pyongyang Grand Theatre. Okryu Restaurant and Chongryu Restaurant, Rungna People's Pleasure Ground, Ryugyong Health Complex and other public service establishments gave special priority to mothers on their holiday.

   Top North Korean officials from the party, military and the Cabinet attended the National Meeting of Mothers. They included Kim Yong-nam, Choe Ryong-hae, Kim Ki-nam, Choe Thae-bok, Ro Tu-chol, Kim Yong-jin. Also in attendance were mothers who have devoted themselves to the upbringing of their children and the drive for the prosperity of the country, and the wives of servicemen. Heads of Korean women's organizations in Japan, China and Russia also attended.

   Kim Ki-nam, a member of the Political Bureau and secretary of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of (North) Korea (WPK), said in a congratulatory speech, "The arduous and glorious path covered by the country records the feats the mothers of the DPRK (North Korea) performed by dedicating their all to the great cause for the country and the nation by linking their life with the destiny of the country and the revolution."

   The meeting discussed the tasks before mothers and women to dutifully fulfill their mission for the prosperity of the country and harmony and happiness of society and families, and the ways to do so.

   Ro Song-sil, chairwoman of the Central Committee of the Democratic Women's Union of (North) Korea, called upon all mothers and women "to single-mindedly remain loyal to the idea and leadership of the dear respected Marshal Kim Jong-un and thus fulfill their sacred responsibility and mission for the times and the revolution."

   North Korea has aggressively publicized the National Meeting of Mothers since it first announced the meeting in July. North Korea offered warm congratulations and special treatment of delegates to the national meeting.

   North Korean media also released a series of articles to idolize three "heroic" women of Kim Jong-un's family -- Ri Po-ik and Kang Pan-sok, the respective grandmother and mother of late President Kim Il-sung, and Kim Jong-suk, mother of Kim Jong-il and grandmother of Kim Jong-un -- as "models" for (North) Korean mothers.

   North Korea has traditionally offered eulogies to Kim Jong-suk as the "Mother of (North) Korea." It has now expanded its beatification to Kang and Ri.

   "Ri Po-ik, grandmother of President Kim Il-sung, was an ardent patriot who devotedly helped her children in their revolutionary activities for the independence of Korea," the KCNA said in a dispatch on Nov. 12.

   The KCNA said the next day, "President Kim Il-sung's mother Kang Pan-sok (April 1892-July 1932), a pioneer of the Korean women's movement, was an ardent patriot who devoted her all to the independence of Korea. She actively helped her husband, Kim Hyong-jik, in his revolutionary activities for turning the nationalist movement to the proletarian revolution."
According to North Korean media, the creation of Mother's Day and the fourth National Meeting of Mothers were made at the instructions of Kim Jong-un. Rodong Sinmun, the newspaper of the WPK, reported Kim Jong-un offered a great benevolence to prepare the national meeting of mothers for the sake of Mother's Day.

   North Korea has been enthusiastically promoting the idolization of grandmothers of the Kim family and holding various events for mothers in order to strengthen North Korean citizens' loyalty to Kim Jong-un by stressing the orthodoxy of the Kim Jong-un regime, North Korea watchers in Seoul say.

   Reporting a photo session Kim Jong-un had with delegates to the national meeting of mothers, The KCNA said on Nov. 18: "The dear respected Marshal Kim Jong-un had a photo session with the delegates to the 4th National Meeting of Mothers.

   Kim said the 4th National Meeting of Mothers marked a significant occasion in glorifying the proud history and tradition created by Korean mothers and opening up brighter and rosier future of the country and nation together with the mothers.

   He sent warm congratulations to the delegates who fully demonstrated the revolutionary traits of Korean women in the meeting.

   The KCNA quoted Kim as saying, "It is the greatest pride of the WPK and Korean people to have exceptional mothers fulfilling their mission before the country and nation with lofty loyalty and ardent patriotism. They delivered the most valuable life in every chapter of the revolution under the care of Generalissimos Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong -il."

   The fourth National Meeting of Mothers was held after seven years of the third meeting in 2005. The first National Meeting of Mothers was held in November 1961, followed by the second meeting in 1988.