North Korea Bans Weddings Ahead of Rare Congressional Meeting

Published May 2, 2016
Updated January 16, 2018
Published May 2, 2016
Updated January 16, 2018
North Korea Bans Weddings

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un saluting as he watches a military parade to mark 100 years since the birth of the country’s founder and his grandfather, Kim Il-Sung, in Pyongyang on April 15, 2012. Photo: Ed Jones/AFP/GettyImages

Love is officially dead in North Korea, as leader Kim Jong-un has now banned weddings.

In fact, as the infamous dictator prepares for the Worker’s Party of Korea’s first congressional meeting in 36 years, weddings, funerals, and any freedom of movement in and out of the capital, Pyongyang, are all now a no-go for “security reasons.”

Cheong Joon-hee, a spokesman for South Korea’s Unification Ministry, said that the North’s government hoped that the ban will help avoid any “mishaps” at the congress.

It’s not at all surprising that the government would take such precautions, given the importance of these congressional meetings.

At this congress, Kim Jong-un is expected to formally declare North Korea’s status as a nuclear-armed state. His coronation party will also be held, cementing his status as the country’s supreme leader.

The last party congress was held in 1980, when Kim Jong-un’s father, Kim Jong-il, was officially named the heir to the country’s position of supreme leader.

The celebratory nature of the upcoming gathering, which brings thousands of delegates from all over the country to Pyongyang, stands in contrast to the tough sanctions the UN Security Council placed on the country in March. These sanctions aim to curb any funding for the research, development, and acquisition of weapons of mass destruction by the North Korean government.

North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Su-yong defended the upcoming congress and condemned the sanctions.

“One of the most important things through this party congress is to show to the entire world the union of our people,” he told the Associated Press. “The real source of power in our country isn’t nuclear weapons or any other military means, but the single-minded unity of the people.”

The congress will most likely support Kim Jong-un’s nuclear ambitions, though his recently ordered nuclear tests have caused international tension and economic hardships for the country.

Leading up the congress, the North Korean government implemented a “70-day campaign of loyalty” to demonstrate their fealty to Kim Jong-un through increased productivity.

Next, catch a rare glimpse of a Monday morning in Pyongyang. Then, read more about North Korea’s hydrogen bomb tests.

Elisabeth Sherman
Elisabeth Sherman is a writer living in Jersey City, New Jersey.