North Korea Omits Mention of Leader Kim Jong-un’s Presumed 40th Birthday

SEOUL: North Korean state media maintained silence on Monday regarding the presumed 40th birthday of the country's leader, Kim Jong-un. Notably, key media outlets such as the Korean Central News Agency, Rodong Sinmun, Korean Central Television, and Korean Central Broadcasting Station did not report on Kim's birthday, which is believed to be on January 8, 1984.

According to Yonhap News Agency, Kim Jong-un's birth date has not been officially confirmed by North Korea. Instead, state media focused on his recent visit to a newly built chicken factory, where Kim emphasized the need for increased poultry production to improve the living standards of the people. During this visit, Kim was accompanied by his daughter, Ju-ae, marking her uncommon appearance in an event related to the economy. Typically, she has been seen with her father at military events.

The visit to the Kwanchon Chicken Farm in Hwangju, North Hwanghae Province, was highlighted in the North Korean media, showing Kim Jong-un and his daughter inspecting the facility on January 7, 2024. However, this coverage did not mention Kim Jong-un's birthday.

The North Korean foreign ministry released a statement focusing on Kim Jong-un's diplomatic achievements, particularly a summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping that occurred on Kim's 35th birthday in 2019. The statement, while assessing the visit as beneficial for strengthening bilateral ties between North Korea and China, also did not mention Kim's birthday.

According to Koo Byoung-sam, spokesperson for South Korea's unification ministry, which oversees inter-Korean affairs, North Korea does not typically emphasize Kim Jong-un's birthday. Koo stated in a press briefing that while various assumptions could be made about this practice, the ministry would refrain from jumping to conclusions and continue to monitor the situation.

Notably, North Korea celebrates the birthdays of Kim Jong-un's late grandfather and father, Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il, as national holidays. Kim Jong-il's birthday was designated a national holiday in 1982 when he turned 40, eight years after being named the successor to his father and national founder, Kim Il-sung.

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