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North Korea's upcoming congress vexing ordinary North Koreans

North Koreans are required to view state television during the event.

By Elizabeth Shim
North Korea said Tuesday countries are sending messages of congratulations to Pyongyang ahead of Friday’s Seventh Party Congress. South Korea press reported trucks were seen in China crossing into the North carrying goods, including flat-screen televisions, ahead of the event. Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI
North Korea said Tuesday countries are sending messages of congratulations to Pyongyang ahead of Friday’s Seventh Party Congress. South Korea press reported trucks were seen in China crossing into the North carrying goods, including flat-screen televisions, ahead of the event. Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI | License Photo

SEOUL, May 3 (UPI) -- North Korea says countries around the world are sending congratulatory messages to Pyongyang ahead of its Seventh Party Congress. But the Chinese Communist Party was not included in the mentions and dissatisfaction is growing in the country.

The omission underscores worsening ties between Pyongyang and Beijing. State media in both countries have exchanged a war of words, and China has repeatedly called for denuclearization on the Korean peninsula.

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But on Tuesday, North Korea focused instead on the messages from the Russian Communist Party, the Islamic Iran Solidarity Party, the Nepal Worker's Party, the Mongolian People's Party and the Workers Party of Bangladesh.

According to Pyongyang's KCNA, "dignitaries" representing a total of 20 countries acknowledged the upcoming congress, but North Korea did not state whether they would be sending delegates.

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A source in the country told South Korean news service Daily NK there is a rumor that the state is giving out "free electronic appliances" ahead of the event.

The appliances include a 45-inch flat-screen television, a refrigerator and a computer, but the rumor is likely state-sponsored propaganda designed to motivate workers.

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North Korea has also declared a five-day holiday period from May 4 to May 9 – during which North Koreans are required to view state television, the source said.

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South Korean outlet Newsis reported there has been movement of trucks at the China border into North Korea – carrying flat-screen TVs.

But Daily NK's source said the "gifts" are hardly compensation for the manual labor ordinary North Koreans provided in service of the state.

The state's work mandate is likely to continue after the May 6 congress, South Korean news service CBS No Cut News reported Tuesday.

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According to a source in Pyongyang who spoke on the condition of anonymity, the state is requiring citizens to engage in a 150-day mass mobilization movement leading up to Oct. 10, the anniversary of the founding of the ruling Workers' Party.

"Locals are expressing dissatisfaction about the news," the source said.

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