April 29 (UPI) — North Korea confirmed the regime’s Kimilsungist-KimJongilist Youth League held its 10th congress, but Kim Jong Un was not reported to be in attendance.
Pyongyang’s state-controlled news agency KCNA reported Thursday the congress began Tuesday. Workers’ Party leaders urged North Koreans ages 14 to 30 to struggle against “anti-socialist” and “non-socialist” elements.
“The problem of an inadequate struggle against anti-socialism and non-socialist phenomena among youth, the problem of not actively organizing projects to place young people at the forefront of socialist construction, were severely criticized” at the congress, the North Korean news agency said.
Non-socialist and anti-socialist influences are likely a reference to flows of information from outside North Korea’s borders, including South Korea.
North Korea began to crack down on “cultural and ideological infiltration” in December, when the regime adopted a new “Reactionary Ideological Culture Rejection Law” that could further punish officers for allowing outside information into the country.
Defectors in South Korea have said the viewing of outside media is illegal.
Pak Chol Min, chairman of the Youth League’s central committee, said a “more intensive” ideological offensive that can “wipe out antisocial and non-socialist phenomena” in order to “establish a socialist way of life,” is to be carried out.
Pak also claimed projects carried out by the youth league failed to “meet the demands of the time” or the objectives of the ruling Workers’ Party. More work is needed, Pak said.
The youth league represents North Koreans ages 14 to 30, and retains about 5 million active members.
Kim attended the 9th congress of the youth league in 2016, but his name was not mentioned in state media Thursday.
South Korean analyst Cho Han-bum at the Seoul-based Korea Institute for National Unification told local news service News 1 Kim’s non-attendance is unusual.
Some North Korea watchers in the South are raising concerns Kim could be engaging in other activities related to the military, including a potential launch of a submarine-launched ballistic missile, according to News 1.