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North Korea celebrates 75th anniversary of ruling Workers’ Party


Devastating floods, international sanctions and a worldwide coronavirus pandemic represent just a few of the challenges facing North Korea as it celebrates the 75th anniversary of its governing party’s founding.

Despite these issues, the country’s representative to the United Nations told the U.N. General Assembly less than two weeks before the anniversary that North Korea was “under safe and stable control.” U.N. Ambassador Kim Song also said that the regime had developed a “reliable and effective war deterrent for self-defense” and was turning its attention to reenergizing the economy, Reuters reported.

“Based on its reliable guarantee for safeguarding the security of the state and people, the DPRK [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea] is now directing all its efforts to economic construction. It is a matter of fact that we badly need an external environment favorable for economic construction,” he said, according to Reuters, an apparent acknowledgment of the tough international sanctions levied against North Korea because of its ballistic missile program. “But, we cannot sell off our dignity just in a hope for brilliant transformation — the dignity which we have defended as valuable as our own life. This is our steadfast position.”

Satellite images analyzed by 38 North, a think tank specializing in North Korea, revealed formations of troops and vehicles along the Mirim Parade Training Ground near Pyongyang amid the country’s coronavirus restrictions. The 38 North report surmised that troops were practicing for a major military parade to celebrate the establishment of the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK).

Founded on October 10, 1945, the WPK allowed its leader, Kim Il Sung, to consolidate power, ultimately creating a dynasty that continues today with the regime led by his grandson Kim Jong Un. (Pictured: People gather in front of statues of North Korea’s late leaders Kim Il Sung, left, and Kim Jong Il to celebrate the Day of the Foundation, commemorating the nation’s founding, in Pyongyang in September 2020.)

“These anniversaries are very important to the leadership in Pyongyang as they celebrate with symbolism,” Dan Pinkston, a professor of international relations at Troy University’s Seoul campus, told the German broadcaster DW News. “We know that they have been working on a lot of new weapons systems and upgrading others, including rocket artillery, unmanned aerial vehicles and guided missiles, and it will be a political decision on whether to put them on display at the parade, but it’s what they have done in the past.”

Countries and analysts often rely on satellite images and other intelligence to deduce what’s going on within the secretive nation’s borders. North Korea has refused to accept coronavirus aid from the United States, officially denying that it has any cases of COVID-19. Nonetheless, the U.S. and South Korea continue to advance efforts to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula and offer coronavirus help should the regime be willing to accept it.

“The United States and the Republic of Korea remain fully committed to diplomacy as a way to reach an enduring peace on the Korean Peninsula, to achieve denuclearization, to bring about a brighter future for all of Korean people and to bring about normalcy in the United States’ relationship with the DPRK,” U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun told reporters in late September 2020, referring to South Korea by its official name of the Republic of Korea (ROK), according to Yonhap News Agency.

Biegun, the U.S. special representative for North Korea, made his remarks in Seoul during a meeting with South Korean counterpart Lee Do-hoon to discuss joint tasks for denuclearization and establishing a peace regime.

“The U.S. and ROK cannot do it by ourselves,” Biegun said, according to Yonhap. “We need DPRK engaged, and we remain open to that discussion with them when they are prepared.”

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