There have been protests in the South Korean capital Seoul to coincide with the 69th birthday of the North’s leader Kim Jong-Il.
Tension has mounted between the two neighbours over the past couple of years. North Korea has become increasingly hostile, conducting missile tests and staging military attacks.
As a group of southern tourists gazed across the border in curiosity, one visitor asked whether it right for the North to celebrate its leader’s birthday while most North Koreans were starving.
“He’d better feed his people first, and then he can enjoy his birthday. Kim Jong-Il should step down as soon as possible for his people,” the tourist said.
Although Pyongyang has seen the usual birthday commemorations, defectors in Seoul say festivities in the North have been scaled down this year because of a chronic food shortage.
Whereas the authorities usually distribute 10 days’ worth of rations, some areas have reportedly received no supplies.
South Korean officials say one of the leader’s sons, Kim Jong-chol, was spotted recently at an Eric Clapton concert in Singapore. Meanwhile back home his youngest son, heir apparent Kim Jong-un, continues to appear in public with his father.