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World North Korea's Kim wraps up rare party congress with mass art performance

08:15  14 january  2021
08:15  14 january  2021 Source:   reuters.com

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North Korean leader Kim Jong Un wrapped up a rare congress at a mass indoor art performance on Wednesday, state media said, but made no Kim and other North Korean officials packed into an indoor stadium in Pyongyang to watch performances from military and civilian art troupes and youth

SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korean leader Kim Jong Un wrapped up a rare congress at a mass indoor art performance on Wednesday, state media said, but made no mention of a reported military parade. Kim and other North Korean officials packed into an indoor stadium in Pyongyang to watch

By Josh Smith

Kim Jong-un sitting on a table: FILE PHOTO: 8th Congress of the Workers' Party in Pyongyang © Reuters/KCNA FILE PHOTO: 8th Congress of the Workers' Party in Pyongyang

SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korean leader Kim Jong Un wrapped up a rare congress at a mass indoor art performance on Wednesday, state media said, but made no mention of a reported military parade.

Kim and other North Korean officials packed into an indoor stadium in Pyongyang to watch performances from military and civilian art troupes and youth groups, mostly on themes of glorifying Kim's leadership and reinforcing messaging from the congress, news agency KCNA reported on Thursday.

The congress, which ran for eight days in Pyongyang, is the first since 2016, and just the second since 1980.

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Kim used the party congress , the first in 36 years, to highlight North Korea ' s aim to expand its nuclear arsenal, in defiance of U.N. sanctions, though he said the weapons would only be used if North Korea was threatened with similar weapons. Kim also set out a five-year plan to revive his isolated country's

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has attended a mass art performance held to celebrate the recently concluded party congress , state media said Thursday. The performance took place on Wednesday, a day after the North wrapped up the eighth congress of its ruling Workers' Party

The performance was the latest in a series of large gatherings this week where Kim and the other attendees did not appear to wear masks or use other social distancing measures, according to images released by state media.

North Korea has not reported any confirmed cases of the coronavirus, but it has imposed strict border closures, domestic travel restrictions, and other measures to prevent an outbreak.

State media has not shown an expected parade. Such events are closely watched by international observers for signs of new military technology developed by North Korea, which is under international sanctions for its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programmes.

On Wednesday Kim Yo Jong, the leader's sister and a member of the party Central Committee, criticised South Korea's military for saying it had detected signs of a parade in Pyongyang on Sunday. The move was an expression of the South's "hostile approach" towards the North, she said in a statement carried by KCNA.

Ahead of the congress, commercial satellite imagery showed troops rehearsing in formation, and NK News, a website that monitors North Korea, cited a source who said they heard heavy vehicles moving in Pyongyang on Sunday.

(Reporting by Josh Smith; editing by Richard Pullin)

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The military parade featured what appeared to be a new submarine-launched ballistic missile, which if operational would make it more difficult for the U.S. to neutralize Pyongyang's nuclear arsenal.Kim presided over the military parade on Thursday evening, marking the end of the eighth Workers' Party congress bringing together key regime figures to hear the dictator set his priorities for the immediate future.

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