SEOUL, April 7 (Yonhap) -- North Korea's official newspaper called Tuesday for grassroots units of the ruling Workers' Party to stand at the forefront of the country's efforts to overcome economic and other challenges in an apparent bid to tighten discipline among rank-and-file party members.
The appeal came as the communist nation has been focusing on warding off the coronavirus pandemic. The North's rubber-stamp parliament is set to meet later this week, and there has been speculation that it might send a message to the United States amid a stalemate in denuclearization talks.
"Whether party members will take the lead will depend on how each party organization draws up ways to organize their life and set forth guidelines," the Rodong Sinmun, the organ of the ruling party, said in an editorial.
"All basic party organizations and cells should work to make the life of members obedient and focused in carrying out revolutionary tasks well," it added, referring to the lowest-level organizations of the Workers' Party of Korea consisting of five to 30 members.
The paper also urged such organizations to take the lead in uniting rank-and-file party members and set the right example in all aspects, including political and ideological attitudes.
The appeal appears aimed at tightening overall party discipline amid worries that people might let their guard down amid a prolonged fight to block the spread of the new coronavirus.
The North has not reported any confirmed COVID-19 virus infections, but skeptics doubt the claim, saying it might be concealing an outbreak that is possibly spiraling out of control.
On Friday, the Supreme People's Assembly, the country's rubber-stamp parliament, is to meet amid deadlocked denuclearization talks following the no-deal summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and U.S. President Donald Trump more than a year ago.
North Korea's media have frequently emphasized the importance of self-reliance since Kim told a party meeting in late December that he did not expect the U.S. to lift sanctions anytime soon and urged his people to make a "frontal breakthrough" to tackle challenges confronting the country.
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