16-Oct-97—EWTN News Brief

SEOUL (CWN) – Stalinist North Korea has banned both contraception and abortion to increase birth rates in order to maintain the country’s huge army, a North Korean defector was quoted as sayiing in a Seoul newspaper on Thursday.

Min Byong-kyun, 48, a former North Korean trading official in Russia, told a news conference at the Agency for National Security Planning that Pyongyang is desperate to increase the country’s population of 24 million. “North Korean women have been banned from surgical operations for contraception or abortion since last year to maintain future army troops,” the English-language Herald quoted Min as saying.

South Korean defense officials said earlier this month that North Korean troop strength has increased nine percent to 1,147,000 in the past year despite widespread famine and deaths. Min also said the country has been involved in drug trafficking to raise hard currency for military spending.