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(LEAD) N. Korea's official newspaper rallies support for leader Kim on ruling party's anniversary

North Korea 20:06 October 10, 2019

(ATTN: UPDATES with report of state news agency in last 2 paras)

SEOUL, Oct. 10 (Yonhap) -- North Korea's official newspaper called on the country Thursday to unite around leader Kim Jong-un as the communist state marks the anniversary of the establishment of its ruling Workers' Party.

"The high authority of the party is tantamount to the absolute authority of our dear Supreme Leader Comrade Kim Jong-un and his leadership is an eternal lifeline for our party and revolution," the Rodong Sinmun said in an editorial marking the 74th anniversary of the Workers' Party of Korea.

"Despite brutal anti-republic schemes by hostile forces and challenges stacked against us, victory after victory in our socialism drive ... is a clear representation of the power of our unity," it added. "Rallying around Comrade Kim Jong-un, we have to consolidate our unity in maintaining our revolution line."

The appeal appears to be intended to strengthen internal unity after Pyongyang's working-level denuclearization talks with Washington last week broke down.

The paper highlighted what it claimed to be progress in building a self-reliant economy and military industry thanks to Kim's "great leadership" and called for stepped-up efforts to build a stronger economy independent of outside help, and develop the science and technology sector.

Thursday's anniversary came less than a week after the breakdown of working-level denuclearization talks between the North and the U.S. in Stockholm on Saturday.

The talks marked a resumption of nuclear negotiations that had been stalled since the February summit between Trump and Kim, which fell apart as they couldn't meet halfway over how to match Pyongyang's denuclearization and Washington's sanctions relief.

The North has since demanded the U.S. come up with a proposal acceptable to Pyongyang apparently including major sanctions relief and security assurances. Washington has remained firm that major concessions should wait until Pyongyang takes concrete denuclearization steps.

North Korea usually marks the party anniversary with large-scale events on every fifth or 10th year. Observers say that the North appears to be celebrating the day this year without much fanfare.

On last year's anniversary, leader Kim paid tribute to the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun, the mausoleum where the bodies of his late grandfather and father are enshrined. The North's media has not reported yet on his visit there for this year's anniversary.

North Korea celebrated the party anniversary with arts performances and sports events, according to the Korean Central News Agency.

There was no media coverage of the party's central reporting meeting, which was held a day before the actual anniversary.


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