According to reports from sources inside the secretive nation, North Korea has banned weddings and funerals ahead of the next party congress.
The event occurs once in a generation and the latest edition is due to take place on Friday. It will be the first in 36 years and comes at time of great tension on the Korean Peninsula. Pyongyang is on lockdown ahead of the event.
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No weddings or funerals and restrictions on movement
The ruling Worker’s Party of Korea is organizing the party congress, and the country’s leader Kim Jong-un has ordered extraordinary security measures. As well as banning weddings and funerals, free movement in and out of the capital, Pyongyang, has also been banned.
The reports came about thanks to Daily NK, a Korean website which says that it has sources inside North Korea. According to Cheong Joon-hee, a spokesman at South Korea’s Unification Ministry, the measures are designed to prevent “mishaps” at the event.
In 1980 Kim Jong-un’s father, Kim Jong-il, was confirmed as the new ruler of North Korea at the last event of its kind. It is thought that Kim Jong-un will use the party congress to cement his leadership.
The party’s official newspaper, said: “The [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea] proudly joined the ranks of advanced nuclear and space powers while demonstrating the might of the invincible politico-ideological, military and youth power and is now dashing ahead toward to a socialist economic power and highly civilised nation.”
North Korea military tests continue despite international sanctions
North Korea has come under increasing international pressure due to its continued work on nuclear and missile programs. The United Nations security council approved even tougher economic sanctions this March after a number of military tests.
The economic situation has deteriorated, but money is still being used for military research. United States ambassador Samantha Power said that “virtually all of the DPRK’s resources are channelled into its reckless and relentless pursuit of weapons of mass destruction.”
However North Korean foreign minister Ri Su-yong said that the economy will form an important part of the party congress.
“One of the most important things through this party congress is to show to the entire world the union of our people. I’m sure our country will be even more vibrant after the party congress to build up a more prosperous and powerful, economically sound nation,” he said.