North Korean relax, play games, and ride fun fair amusements at a Pyongyang park on International Youth Day in 2011. (Wikimedia Commons)

North Korea has indefinitely delayed a rally of the Korean Children’s Union that had been scheduled for early June, Daily NK has learned. The central government temporarily postponed the rally because of concerns that a large gathering of young people in the capital of Pyongyang could lead to another outbreak of COVID-19 there, a source said.

A source in North Korea told Daily NK on Monday that the Central Committee of the Socialist Patriotic Youth League had informed local leagues in various parts of the country early this month that the ninth rally of the Korean Children’s Union has been delayed, without specifying exactly when it will take place.

North Korean media had reported on Mar. 6 that “the ninth rally of the Korean Children’s Union will be held in Pyongyang in early June 2022.” But as of the time of writing in late June, there have been no reports of the rally actually taking place.

A source had previously told Daily NK that the North Hamgyong Province Youth League Committee finished selecting students from the province to attend the ninth rally at the beginning of this month.

In that earlier report, Daily NK quoted a source in North Hamgyong Province as saying that the Youth League’s provincial committee had finalized a slate of over 160 rally attendees, prioritizing students who had spoken with the supreme leader in person, received a handwritten letter from him or won the Kim Il Sung Children’s Honor Award.

That suggests that the North Korean authorities had been mulling whether to hold the rally until shortly before June 6, the anniversary of the Korean Children’s Union establishment.

But in the end, the central government opted against holding the rally out of concern that it might be a repeat of the military parade on April 25, which triggered a massive surge of COVID-19 cases in Pyongyang, the source said.

Given the strict COVID-19 regulations and the poor economic conditions resulting from the prolonged closure of the national border due to the pandemic, there had reportedly been several rounds of debate inside the Youth League about whether the rally should be held.

But the source explained that the Youth League has been trying to hold the ninth rally of the Korean Children’s Union this year because North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said during the eighth rally, held in Pyongyang in June 2017, that “representatives from the Korean Children’s Union who will serve as future pillars of the revolution, should be brought to Pyongyang for the rally, which is held once every five years, to help them feel pride.”

But in the end, the Korean Children’s Union was given orders to put the ninth rally on temporary hold as more people came down with fever and were diagnosed with COVID-19.

That has even led some North Koreans to predict the rally is unlikely to take place this year at all.

“While the Korean Children’s Union was instructed to put the event on indefinite hold, it doesn’t seem likely the rally will be held this year even if the COVID-19 situation improves because June 6 has already passed,” the source said.

Since the rally was being organized by the Youth League Central Committee, rather than by Kim Jong Un himself, it had not been decided whether Kim would personally attend the rally, the source added.

Translated by David Carruth. Edited by Robert Lauler.

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Seulkee Jang is one of Daily NK's full-time journalists. Please direct any questions about her articles to dailynkenglish@uni-media.net.