Mandatory Mass Rally in N. Korea After Congress

Mandatory Mass Rally in N. Korea After CongressMandatory Mass Rally in N. Korea After Congress

Hundreds of thousands of North Koreans celebrated the country’s newly completed ruling-party congress on Tuesday with a massive civilian parade featuring floats bearing patriotic slogans and marchers with flags and pompoms.

Leader Kim Jong Un presided over the parade and waved to the crowd. North Koreans have been practicing roles in the parade and other events for weeks. Participation is mandatory, AP reported.

The four-day congress completed on Monday was the authoritarian country’s first since 1980, before Kim was even born. The rubberstamp 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.

By calling a congress—something his father, Kim Jong Il, never did—Kim demonstrated what may be a leadership style more like that of his charismatic grandfather, national founder Kim Il Sung. Kim Il Sung worked through party organs more than Kim Jong Il, who preferred using his own network of trusted individuals to get things done.

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.

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 was allowed to watch the congress on Monday in the ornate April 25 House of Culture.