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PYONGYANG, May 5. /TASS/. Last minute preparations were underway in the North Korean capital on Thursday for the 7th Congress of the Workers’ Party of Korea, due to open on Friday, May 6. According to some forecasts it may last several days.
WPK red flags line the streets. Bright posters and streamers call for more achievements in continued creative endeavor and for tighter unity around the nation’s leader, Kim Jong-un. One of them reads: "Pave a wide road for building a prospering country in the year of the 7th WPK congress!" Minivans carrying loudspeakers plied the streets to broadcast slogans and play loud patriotic tunes. The center of the city is closed to traffic. The last rehearsals were held of mass outdoor events timed for the WPK congress, the first over the past 36 years. Exhibitions and screenings of films reviewing WPK history and explaining the gist of the party’s current policies are in progress across the country.
On the eve of the congress security measures in Pyongyang have been tightened. Military patrols stop passers-by for ID checks. Motorbike-mounted police inspect motor vehicles. There have been no official announcements so far as to which of the city’s building will house the WPK congress, expected to gather more than 3,000 delegates. Nothing has been said about the forum’s agenda, either. Experts speculate that the delegates will focus on measures to strengthen the country’s defenses and address economic issues in the context of sanctions that have been imposed on Pyongyang over its nuclear and missile program. The congress is likely to reaffirm the importance of Kim’s policy of parallel development of the economy and efforts to bolster the country’s nuclear potential. Harsh criticism of the United States, Japan and South Korea is likely. The official newspaper of the WPK’s Central Committee, Rodong Sinmun, said on Thursday that all attempts by the US Administration "to deny or belittle the DPRK’s nuclear potential have ended in failure." The daily recalls that Pyongyang early this year successfully tested a hydrogen bomb to show the United States and its allies "the enormous nuclear strike potential at the DPRK’s disposal."
The government-published newspaper Minju Choson puts the emphasis on the strengths of the policy of self-reliance in the economy. It says that "the DPRK finds the sanctions imposed by the United States and its allies not scaring at all."
A large group of journalists, both accredited in North Korea and those invited to Pyongyang from Russia, China, the United States, France, Spain, Finland, Japan and other countries will be covering the WPK congress. The local authorities have taken them on a tour to Mangyongdae - the birthplace of the DPRK’s founder and first leader, Kim Il-sung, as well as the museum created on the site of the country’s first arms manufacturing factory, built on his orders in the late 1940s. On Thursday, foreign journalists were invited to visit the Sukto island, where Kim Il-sung in July 1948 held meetings with South Korean politicians, who had arrived in Pyongyang for a conference of political parties of the North and the South with the intention to explore ways of unification. A monument called Unification was erected on the island to commemorate the event. Images of magnolia - Korea’s national flower - adorn the monument. Local political analysts say the ideas of that conference held by Kim Il-sung are still relevant.