SEOUL, April 19 (UPI) -- North Korea's Seventh Party Congress might be a domestic affair without foreign envoys in attendance, reflecting Pyongyang's increased diplomatic isolation following numerous provocations.
Sources on North Korea told Yonhap on Tuesday senior North Korean official Kim Yong Chol had visited Laos and other Southeast Asian countries in February to extend invitations, but there have been no responses from other countries.
The lack of a response from traditional North Korea allies is part of a larger trend in the international community.
In January, the World Economic Forum in Davos rescinded its ministerial invitation to North Korea, which Pyongyang promptly called an unjustly and politically motivated decision driven by the United States.
By contrast, North Korea's last Workers' Party Congress, held in 1980, included 177 delegates from 118 countries, including China and the Soviet Union.
Robert Mugabe, who was then prime minister of Zimbabwe, was also in attendance at North Korea's Sixth Party Congress.
Pyongyang state media has announced mass rallies and large-scale preparations are under way, but a South Korean unification ministry official told press that there haven't been signs of massive celebrations or events.
North Korea could be reducing the scale of celebrations in the wake of tighter sanctions against the country, the South Korean official said, and that the state is mandating ordinary North Koreans to donate funds for the event while cracking down on their use of mobile phones.
While North Korea could be falling out of favor with ally China and the international community, it is one of 150 governments that will sign a climate pact in New York on Friday, South Korean television network MBC reported.
Pyongyang's Foreign Minister Ri Su Yong was in Beijing Tuesday en route to the United States to sign the agreement that would limit carbon emissions.
Ri did not meet with Beijing officials but was taken straight to the North Korean embassy in the Chinese capital, according to sources.