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North Korea: Kim Jong-un holds conference aimed at strengthening ruling party

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North Korean leader Kim Jong-un held what is seen as an unprecedented conference this week that sought to strengthen the country’s ruling political party. The conference is believed to be an effort to test the loyalty of members and officials under Kim’s regime.

North Korean state media KCNA reported Thursday that Kim hosted an unprecedented conference that aimed to strengthen the leadership of the country’s ruling Workers’ Party. The event is seen as the first of its kind, with the objective of consolidating the ideology and organization of the party in all aspects.

The conference reportedly focused on “Party Life Guidance,” which is made up of groups that monitor and police the loyalty of officials and the party’s members nationwide.

In a 2019 report by the US-based Committee for Human Rights in North Korea, the party life guidance is seen as a very important function of the ruling political party. The PLG, which is part of the Organization and Guidance Department, monitors trends and patterns in the behavior of individuals, especially those that may be deemed harmful to the interests of the supreme leader.

The techniques include self-criticism sessions, where members are required to confess their wrongdoings and address the accusations of other members. The PLG is also tasked with passing guidance from senior leaders and plays a part in choosing the candidates that are eligible to run in elections.

In his remarks at the conference, according to KCNA, Kim described party life guidance as a “blood vessel and nerve gland” that links party organizations with the central committee and also plays a big part in implementing the party’s policies and ideas.

This comes at a time when tensions are high in the region, as North Korea has carried out multiple weapons tests this year.

Pyongyang recently criticized the joint agreement made by the United States, South Korea, and Japan to enhance security cooperation, accusing the move as a step toward establishing a military alliance similar to NATO in the region.

Speaking to the state news outlet, North Korea’s foreign ministry spokesperson claimed that the warning by Washington that Pyongyang is a threat is only an excuse to obtain “military supremacy” in the region by establishing a military alliance.

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