North Koreans mobilized en masse to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the 1945 founding of the Workers’ Party of Korea.
North Korea’s leadership often uses anniversaries to rally the nation behind the military or the party, while at the same time reinforcing the primacy of the leader himself. The particularly strong emphasis on making the party foundation anniversary this year a lavish fete is also seen by some foreign analysts as a sign that Kim Jong Un is trying to build up the party’s standing relative to the military.
Though both institutions are strong, the power balance among various government organs in North Korea is a delicate one and maintaining that balance is a key to keeping Kim’s leadership solid and unchallenged. Giving some credence to that argument, North Korean officials have recently stressed the role of the party in improving the standard of living for the people and a rocket launch that some foreign analysts expected to happen before the anniversary now appears to be unlikely. “Our party sees the steady improvement of the people’s standard of living as its main concern above everything else,” professor Kim Chang Gyong, of the North Korean Association of Social Scientists, said in an interview with an Associated Press Television News crew. “Our party is now concentrating on building an economically powerful socialist state.”
AP Photographer Wong Maye-E was on assignment in North Korea to document the anniversary. Below is a gallery of her photographs.
Text excerpted from the AP news story, North Korea Gears Up For Lavish Anniversary Celebration, by Eric Talmadge.
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