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N. Korean leader sends sweet birthday gift to kids

SEOUL: North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un has sent one kilo of sweets to every child to mark his birthday today, carrying on a tradition instigated by his grandfather, state media reported. A radio report by the North Korean Central Broadcasting Station, monitored in Seoul yesterday, said Kim had mobilized aircraft to ensure that each child in the country aged 10 or under received the candy gift in time.
Villagers in outlying islands “exploded with joy” at the confectionery airlift, the report said. The giving of “birthday candy” was started in 1980 by Kim’s grandfather and North Korea’s founding leader Kim Il-Sung. Kim’s father Kim Jong-Il, who died in December 2011, continued the practise when he took over in 1994.
The birthdays of the two late Kims are both celebrated as national holidays. Kim Jong-Un was born on Jan. 8, although there is some confusion about the year, with various reports that it was 1982, 1983 or 1984. “Such gifts to children are aimed to project an image as a benevolent, caring leader as the North seeks to build up a personality cult around the young leader,” said Cho Bong-Hyun, an analyst at the IBK Economic Research Institute in Seoul.