N.Korea's Kim calls for 'absolutely loyal' military officers

FILE PHOTO: Senior military officials watch a parade as portraits of late North Korean leaders Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il are seen in the background at the main Kim Il Sung square in Pyongyang, North Korea, September 9, 2018. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui/File Photo

SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said the country's military education system must redouble efforts to turn out officers who "remain absolutely loyal" to the country's ruling party, state media reported on Tuesday.

Kim made the remarks at the Eighth Conference of Military Educationists of the Korean People's Army held in Pyongyang over the weekend, state news agency KCNA said.

"He underscored the need to prepare all the military educationists to be true soldiers immensely loyal to the idea and leadership of the Party and to organise and provide the military education, strictly guided by the Party's idea, policy and method so as to bring up all the cadets to be commanding officers who remain absolutely loyal to the Party Central Committee," KCNA reported.

The conference also reviewed "some deviations witnessed in the military education due to the lack of ideological awareness," the report said, without elaborating.

It was the latest in a series of events and public relations campaigns focused on boosting political loyalty as Kim prepares to mark 10 years in power this month.

In November North Korea held a conference where Kim announced plans to expand a loyalty reward system, and state media has broadcast a series of stories on wayward youth who found redemption through hard physical labour for the party.

The country has been grappling with compounding economic crises caused by self-imposed anti-pandemic border lockdowns, natural disasters, and international sanctions over its nuclear weapons programme.

(Reporting by Josh Smith; Editing by Sandra Maler)

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