North Korea Cancels April Spring Friendship Art Festival
The North’s bienniel Aprils Spring Friendship Art Festival has been cancelled, reports United Press International. Some analysts see this as a sign of further deterioration of North’s economy, currently facing its worst food shortages in years. Most significantly, the Art Festival pays homage to the birthday of Kim Il Sung. Is this an ominous sign?
North Korea’s April Spring Friendship Art Festival will be held once every two years beginning this year, in what some say is a sign of deteriorating economic conditions in the reclusive communist nation, Yonhap news agency reported Sunday.
An aid group in Seoul, South Korea, said last week that North Korea is bracing for worsening food shortages. Moreover, the World Food Program has warned North Korea could face its worst food shortage in years because of last year’s floods and a winter drought.
The South Korean news agency said the North began the spring festival in 1982 on the occasion of the founding leader’s 70th birthday. For the festivities, Pyongyang customarily hosts big-name foreign musicians and art groups.
Last year, the North Korean paid airfares and accommodations for British opera singer Suzannah Clarke and the popular U.S. gospel music group Casting Crowns, Yonhap reported.
This news comes on the heels of reports that food distribution in Pyongyang has ceased (see: “The Beginning of the End: Food Shortages Reach Pyongyang” over at One Free Korea).