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North Korea offering 'working-class' medals for mass labor

Pyongyang is taking steps to mobilize domestic support of the ruling Workers’ Party.

By Elizabeth Shim
North Korea offering 'working-class' medals for mass labor
Kim Jong Un is being idolized in North Korea’s state media ahead of the country’s Seventh Party Congress, to be held May 7. File Photo by Choson Sinbo

SEOUL, April 13 (UPI) -- North Korea is offering medals of merit as incentives to ordinary North Koreans – because the state wants more people to take part in mass labor efforts ahead of the Seventh Party Congress.

Pyongyang's state newspaper Rodong Sinmun reported Wednesday the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly has designated a new "working-class" medal.

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The medal is named in honor of a North Korean region where Pyongyang's troops retained an underground armory, and where on Tuesday the state erected new Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il statues, South Korean news service Newsis reported.

The medal was created to remind North Koreans of the life sacrifices made during the 1950-53 Korean War, and the similar efforts Pyongyang is asking of ordinary North Koreans in the run-up to the Seventh Party Congress, South Korea press reported.

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North Korea has conferred more than a hundred medals to people of all ages as part of events leading up to the congress.

The Korean Workers' Party has also been selecting representatives from different regions and cities ahead of the May gathering, to be held for the first time in three decades.

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The Rodong stated work units, institutions and farm cooperatives had democratically elected the representatives, and that the chosen candidates frankly expressed their admiration for the "exceptional ideas and leadership" of Kim Jong Un.

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As North Korea is taking steps to mobilize domestic support, a Pyongyang foreign ministry spokesman ruled out dialogue with foreign powers, according to KCNA.

The spokesman said the sanctions against the country eliminated the possibility of dialogue, adding, "that even a child knows that obvious truth."

The spokesman added the United States was engaging in nuclear war provocations that preclude any steps toward the resumption of the six-party talks or denuclearization.

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