Pyongyang Parties as Party Congress Ends

Kim Jong Un has a new title
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 10, 2016 12:43 AM CDT
Pyongyang Parties as Party Congress Ends
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un listens during the party congress in Pyongyang, North Korea.   (Wong Maye-E)

Hundreds of thousands of North Koreans celebrated the country's newly completed ruling-party congress Tuesday with a massive civilian parade featuring floats bearing patriotic slogans and marchers with flags and pompoms, the AP reports. Leader Kim Jong Un presided over the parade and waved to the crowd. The four-day congress completed Monday was the authoritarian country's first since 1980, before Kim was even born. The rubber-stamp body of more than 3,400 delegates endorsed his nuclear and economic policies, promoted his favored officials, and gave him a new title of party chairman.

The congress touted Kim's successes on the nuclear front and promised economic improvements to boost the nation's standard of living, despite the increasing weight of international sanctions over the North's development of nuclear weapons. Mostly, however, the congress put Kim front and center in the eyes of the people and the party as the country's sole leader. His new title of chairman of the Workers' Party of Korea was announced during the roughly 10 minutes that a small group of foreign media, including the AP, was allowed to watch the congress Monday. It was the only time any of the more than 100 foreign journalists invited were allowed to view the proceedings. (On Monday, a BBC journalist was questioned for eight hours and kicked out of the country.)

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