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N.K. renames youth association as it seeks to beef up internal solidarity

All Headlines 09:16 August 29, 2016

SEOUL, Aug. 29 (Yonhap) -- North Korea has renamed a major youth association founded by the country's late founder, the North's state media said Monday, a move seen aimed at strengthening internal solidarity.

North Korea announced that the Kim Il Sung Socialist Youth League was renamed the Kimilsungist-Kimjongilist Youth League in accordance with the decision made at a youth congress.

Pyongyang on Friday opened the congress of the youth congress, the ninth of its kind, for the first time in 23 years as North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is seeking to solicit support from young people to cement his power.

It marked the country's first congress of the youth league since February 1993. The congress was never held while the incumbent leader's late father Kim Jong-il ruled the country.

"Youth league organizations and youth should become the vanguard and shock brigade in building a socialist power," Kim said during his speech at the congress, reported by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

The youth league was created by the country's late founder Kim Il-sung in 1946, the largest youth association governed by the ruling Workers' Party of Korea.

North Koreans aged from 14 to 30 are required to join the association which is known to command a membership of some 5 million young people.

The congress came as more North Koreans including members of the elite have been defecting to South Korea amid the leader's reign of terror.

Seoul's unification ministry said Friday that the holding of the youth congress reflects North Korea's move to strengthen its campaign for mobilization.

Members of the youth league were mobilized last year to build a new hydroelectric power plant near Mount Paekdu, the highest peak on the divided peninsula.

sooyeon@yna.co.kr
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