North Korea's war veterans arrive in Pyongyang on Sunday, to attend a national conference to celebrate the 68th anniversary of the Korean War armistice on Tuesday, in this photo released by the North's official Korean Central News Agency. The North calls the 1950-53 war the Fatherland Liberation War and designated the armistice signing date as Victory Day. (Korean Central News Agency)
North Korea plans to hold a national conference of war veterans to celebrate the 68th anniversary of the end of the 1950-53 Korean War, state media said Monday, despite the global coronavirus pandemic.
"The 7th National Conference of War Veterans is to be held in Pyongyang with splendor on the occasion of the 68th anniversary of the victory in the great Fatherland Liberation War," the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said.
The Korean War ended in an armistice signed on July 27, 1953, which leaves South and North Korea technically in a state of war. The North called the war the Fatherland Liberation War and designated the armistice signing date as Victory Day.
War veterans participating in the conference arrived in Pyongyang on Sunday, while party officials visited the lodging quarters to award the participation certificates and congratulate the war veterans, according to the KCNA.
The KCNA did not say when the conference will take place, but it is likely to be held ahead of the anniversary date.
Observers say the event appears to be aimed at tightening internal unity in the face of deepening economic fallout caused by the global coronavirus pandemic.
The North held the first conference of war veterans in 1993, when it marked the 40th anniversary of the end of the war. It also has taken place in 2012, 2013, 2015, 2018 and 2020 since leader Kim Jong-un took office in late 2011.
Meanwhile, the KCNA confirmed the appointment of Thae Hyong-chol as secretary of the ruling Workers' Party and director of the central committee's science and education department by referring to him as one of the party secretaries that visited the war veterans.
At an extended politburo meeting last month, leader Kim berated officials handling anti-epidemic measures and dismissed key party members, including Choe Sang-gon, who had formerly held Thae's position. (Yonhap)