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Text messages replacing letters in North Korea, state media says

North Korean volunteers are receiving texts as they work on disaster relief projects, the Rodong Sinmun said Tuesday. Photo by Rodong Sinmun
North Korean volunteers are receiving texts as they work on disaster relief projects, the Rodong Sinmun said Tuesday. Photo by Rodong Sinmun

Oct. 27 (UPI) -- North Korean volunteer workers are receiving letters expressing moral support through text messages on their mobile devices, state media says, as the regime continues to stress the "80-day campaign" for flood recovery.

Korean Workers' Party newspaper Rodong Sinmun reported Tuesday volunteers with the Second Capital Party Division, referring to a division in Pyongyang, have been receiving morale-boosting letters as they work on flood relief in the Hamgyong provinces. The texts were from Pyongyang, the headline of the article read.

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Kim Jong Un has emphasized the importance of technological innovation. On Tuesday, state media highlighted the speed in which the messages could be checked, in contrast to conventional mail.

"The fighters hurried to open the letters, and read the texts on their mobile phones in a rush of joy," the Rodong said. "One of the most heartwarming aspects of being away from home are the letters and mobile phone text messages from friendly people" far away, the North Korean newspaper said.

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According to state media, the texts are important as workers carry out difficult projects in rural areas. Volunteers "gain great strength from the enthusiastic messages," the Rodong said in the article that suggests smartphone use is becoming increasingly common in North Korea.

North Korea's 80-day campaign has been a priority for the country ahead of the Eighth Party Congress in January.

On Tuesday, the Rodong called on the country to make the campaign "like a fight against the Japanese," a reference to Korean guerrilla resistance against the colonial occupation. Similar anti-Japanese slogans have been in use in North Korea since the '70s, according to South Korean news service News 1.

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North Korea has claimed there have been zero cases of the coronavirus, but a recent report from South Korean news service Daily NK suggests China and North Korea could resume cross-border train operations.

Seoul's unification ministry said Tuesday the North did not appear to be making changes at the border, which was closed in January, Newsis reported.

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