North Korea plans to spend an estimated $2 billon, about 30% of its annual budget, to mark the occasion of Kim Il Sung's 100th birthday. Sources say the North Korean regime has also invited up to 10,000 foreign guests to Pyongyang to view the ceremonies, offering to pay the airfare and accommodation for each as well.
The north has been pushing hard in recent years to complete large construction projects- such as the 105-story Ryungyong Hotel. To complete these deadlines in the face of a labor shortage, the government has mobilized everyone from university students to special forces to complete the projects. Universities have been closed since June of 2011 to allow their students to focus on building projects for the centenary, and even special forces teams have been given building tasks.
Last year, the North Korean budget was $5.7 billion. A one time $2 billion expenditure on gifts, games, and ceremonies could be a critical blow to the already sputtering economy.
At the same time, North Korea continues its plans to launch the Kwangmyungsung-3 long range missile. The long range missile comes with a price tag of another $850 million. That $850 million alone could be used to buy approximately 4.75 million tons of rice; enough to feed the entire country for a year.
One South Korean official said: "The North Korean economy is already moribund and could go completely bankrupt due to these efforts."