It has been reported that the North Korean authorities have declared a “Special Vigilance Period” and begun regulating civilian access to Pyongyang. The move looks like the start of preparations for the Delegates’ Conference of the Chosun Workers’ Party, which could begin as early as the end of next week.
An inside source reported the news in a telephone conversation with The Daily NK today, saying, “Since the 26th, they have been regulating access to Pyongyang for provincial residents at all the ‘No. 10 Checkpoints.’”
The General Security Bureau of the National Security Agency sets checkpoints at every major entry point into Pyongyang, and these are called “No. 10 Checkpoints.” They are used to regulate the floating population; at all checkpoints, vehicles and civilians have their documents checked.
There are approximately ten checkpoints, with Junghwa No.10 (Hwangju, North Hwanghae Province to Pyongyang), Seopo No.10 (Pyongsung, South Pyongan Province to Pyongyang), and Majang No.10 (Sariwon, North Hwanghae Province to Pyongyang) seeing the highest traffic flows.
The source added, “There is also a decree whereby all local cadres on business trips and others visiting Pyongyang on family business or for other reasons must leave Pyongyang by the end of this month.”
Special Vigilance Periods are a customary move when important events are held in Pyongyang on national holidays.
On Kim Il Sung’s and Kim Jong Il’s birthdays (April 15 and February 16), the founding day of the Chosun People’s Army (April 25) and the Chosun Worker’s Party (October 10), the four major national holidays, the Special Vigilance Period conventionally lasts for seven to ten days, while there is customarily a three or four day Special Vigilance Period when the Supreme People's Assembly is sitting. Additionally, when international VIPs visit Pyongyang, access to the city is generally restricted for four to six days.
The only specific public evidence of the start date of the Delegates’ Conference came in the form of a June 26th Chosun Central News Agency dispatch, according to which, “The Politburo of the Central Party summons a delegates conference of the Chosun Workers’ Party at the beginning of September, 2010 to elect the leading apparatus of the Workers’ Party and reflect new demands for the revolutionary development of the Party, which is facing critical changes in bringing about the strong and prosperous socialist state and Juche revolutionary achievements.”
While the statement could mean any time between September 1st and 10th, considering September 9th is the founding day of the North Korean regime, the conference looks likely to be held between September 6th and 8th.
The Chosun Central News Agency (KCNA) also reported today that county delegates’ conferences have been held and provincial delegates’ conferences will be held soon. The latter will elect provincial delegates who will go forward to the main conference.
In another report, Chosun (North Korea) Central Broadcast (the state radio station) reported that Kim Jong Il had been voted in as a delegate for the North Korean People’s Army in a military party delegates’ conference held in the April 25 House of Culture on the 25th.