North Korea has beefed up its surveillance near Pyongyang and along its border with China ahead of its key party congress slated for late this week, a source familiar with North Korean affairs said Tuesday.
On Monday, North Korea announced a special surveillance week to monitor people in the capital city and border areas as the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) plans to hold the first party congress in more than 30 years on Friday, according to the source.
It said that the North provided special compensation to servicepersons and workers last year to mark the 70th anniversary of the WPK's founding, but there has been no sign of such move this year ahead of the party event.
The upcoming event will be the first party congress since October 1980 and also the first under the regime of leader Kim who assumed power in late 2011 following the sudden death of his father Kim Jong-il.
The source said that the party congress is expected to run for three to four days in Pyongyang. It is highly likely that the North's regime will hold it without high-profile foreign guests, it added.
The party congress, the WPK's highest-level political guidance body, comes amid nagging concerns about advances in North Korea's nuclear and missile development programs.
North Korea is pressing ordinary citizens to boost production results and has forced them to offer money to authorities, inviting growing discontent from North Koreans, according to a South Korean government official.
North Korea completed the 70-day campaign designed to press its people to work harder on Monday, saying that people and groups have surpassed their production goals.
Officials in Seoul, however, said that the North's claim of success appears to be overblown as it is hard to expand production due to a lack of investment and funds. (Yonhap)