Weddings, Funerals Banned in North Korea

At least until the next ruling party congress is over
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted May 2, 2016 6:10 PM CDT
Weddings, Funerals Banned in North Korea
In this Oct. 10, 2015, file photo, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un delivers remarks at a military parade in Pyongyang, North Korea.    (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E, File)

Heading to North Korea for a wedding this week? Better put that on hold—the nation's leader, Kim Jong-un, has banned all weddings, funerals, and movement in and out of Pyongyang ahead of a rare ruling party congress, the Independent reports. What's more, anyone arrested before the 7th Party Congress kicks off on Friday will be considered a political criminal, per the Daily NK. "They are creating a day-to-day atmosphere that is terrifying," says an unnamed source in South Pyongan Province. "Patrols by the Ministry of People's Security have teamed up with inminban [people’s units, a type of neighborhood watch] to visit not only the houses of ordinary people, but also hotel and motel rooms to check the identification of those staying in temporary lodgings."

The heightened security "can be seen as a measure to prevent mishaps over the party congress," a South Korean official tells the Mirror. Not a big surprise, considering they haven't held a party congress since 1980, when Kim Jong-un's father, Kim Jong-il, was officially made leader. This time around, 33-year-old Kim Jong-un is expected to fortify his leadership, lay out plans for North Korea's military and economy, and declare the country a nuclear state. The congress is expected to run four or five days and "will be closely watched for any new policies," the Mirror says. (The UN Security Council hit North Korea with particularly hard sanctions in March, and the country responded by firing missiles toward the Sea of Japan.)

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