May 5, 2016 / 5:06 PM / 2 years ago

'Feel the love': children dance for world's press before North Korean congress

PYONGYANG (Reuters) - Foreign journalists invited to cover North Korea’s first ruling party congress in 36 years were treated on Thursday to song and dance performances by schoolchildren professing their love for leader Kim Jong Un.

Spectators wait for the beginning of a performance at the Mangyongdae Children's Palace in Pyongyang, North Korea May 5, 2016. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

Kim is expected to use the congress starting on Friday to declare North Korea a nuclear weapons state and formally adopt his “Byongjin” policy to pursue economic development and nuclear capability at the same time.

The presence of foreign reporters offers the world a rare view from inside the isolated country, but their movements are closely managed.

The journalists were also shown after-school classes such as choir singing and guitar-playing at Mangyongdae Children’s Palace in the capital Pyongyang.

“Whenever I come here, I feel the love and affection of our great Marshal Kim Jong Un,” eight-year old Sun Ji Hoon said.

The gala lasted around two hours, including orchestral, choir and acrobatic performances. Thousands of Pyongyang residents have been seen practicing dance and parade routines in the run-up to the Seventh Workers’ Party Congress.

Reporting by Damir Sagolj and Joseph Campbell; Editing by Mark Trevelyan

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