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N. Korea's state broadcaster airs special program on rare party congress

North Korea 16:17 January 07, 2021

SEOUL, Jan. 7 (Yonhap) -- North Korea's state broadcaster aired a special program on Thursday featuring a rare party congress under way in Pyongyang in an apparent bid to boost the mood for the country's largest political event that will determine its policy direction for major issues.

The North's state Korean Central Television (KCTV) kicked off its program at 9 a.m. Thursday, hours ahead of its regular start of broadcasting. Its first program was about the second-day session of the eighth congress of the ruling Workers' Party held Wednesday.

The same program is expected to be aired five more times later in the day, according to its television listing. A documentary on the ruling Workers' Party and educational programs for the domestic audience are also on Thursday's program schedule.

The state broadcaster usually starts airing at 3 p.m. except on special occasions, including every 1st, 11th and 21st of each month -- holidays for farmers -- when it begins at 9 a.m.

Thursday's early start appears aimed at livening up the mood as the country's largest political event was under way, observers said.

North Korean military officers take notes on North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's words during the second day of the eighth congress of the ruling Workers' Party in Pyongyang on Jan. 6, 2021, in this photo captured from the North's Korean Central Television the next day. (For Use Only in the Republic of Korea. No Redistribution) (Yonhap)

On Tuesday, North Korea launched the rare party congress for the first time in nearly five years, with thousands of delegates on hand.

The congress has drawn keen attention from the outside world, as Pyongyang is expected to unveil its policy directions for the economy and foreign affairs amid stalled denuclearization negotiations.

The news report on the second-day session was delivered by Ri Chun-hee, a famous North Korean anchor, with video footage showing thousands of participants sitting in close proximity at the April 25 Cultural Hall in Pyongyang without face masks.

Clad in a black Mao jacket, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was seen wearing a badge showing the portraits of his late grandfather Kim Il-sung and late father Kim Jong-il.

Some footage showed participants reading newspapers while waiting for the start of the session.

Other media outlets also reported on the ongoing party congress.

The Rodong Sinmun, the official newspaper of the North's ruling party, carried several articles saying the North received congratulatory messages from the communist parties of Vietnam and Laos, as well as a congratulatory banner from an association of Korean residents in Japan.

A third-day session of the congress was to be held Thursday, according to the official Korean Central News Agency.

It is still unclear for how many days the congress will be held, as the North has not made public the exact schedule. The previous congress was held for four days.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un speaks during the second day of the eighth congress of the ruling Workers' Party in Pyongyang on Jan. 6, 2021, in this photo released by the North's official Korean Central News Agency the next day. North Korea has launched the rare party congress, the first in nearly five years, amid expectations Pyongyang will unveil its policy directions for the economy and foreign affairs in the face of stalled denuclearization negotiations. (For Use Only in the Republic of Korea. No Redistribution) (Yonhap)

julesyi@yna.co.kr
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