Immediately off the back of Kim Jong-Un’s birthday celebrations, the idiosyncratic leader of North Korea has set an unprecedented ban on all weddings and funerals across the country as the government heightens security in preparation for the first Worker’s Party Congress in 36 years to be held this Friday.
Hoping to prevent any violent political uprisings, the government has declared the North Korean capital of Pyongyang in absolute lockdown. The country’s leader has forbidden all travel to and from the city. For residents, this means that travel for business and visiting relatives must be rescheduled or postponed.
According to the Daily NK, nation-wide surveillance has skyrocketed, creating an even more claustrophobic society for North Koreans. The newspaper reports from a source that extra checks of countryside factory workers are being held day and night. The Ministry of People’s Safety, in both uniform and plain clothes, are out monitoring the population’s activity. Furthermore, all historic buildings have become guarded with armed security and security personnel are known to be hiding in manholes.
The regions surrounding Pyongyang are on high alert until the 7th Party Congress concludes. Residents expect more absurd security measures to limit their usual activities.
The Independent has also reported on Kim’s strict limitations, but the veracity of these reports is unclear.
What is clear, however, is that the much-anticipated Congress will give insight into Kim’s plans for North Korea’s economy, foreign policy, and military activity. The Congress is being held after much international concern about North Korea’s nuclear test this past January and missile and rocket launches, according to AP reporting in Tokyo.
Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters, KCNA