North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has banned drinking and singing parties in an attempt to tighten his authoritarian grip on civilians in the wake of UN sanctions, according to South Korean spies.

The National Intelligence Service (NIS) told lawmakers in Seoul that Kim was taking measures to prevent dissent as UN sanctions, imposed in response to North Korea's nuclear missile tests, start to bite.

"[Pyongyang] has devised a system whereby party organs report people's economic hardships on a daily basis, and it has banned any gatherings related to drinking, singing and other entertainment and is strengthening control of outside information," South Korean spies told parliament, according to news agency Yonhap.

The crackdown imposes another restriction on the lives of North Korean civilians, who live in one of the most repressive countries on earth.

Pyongyang's annual beer festival was called off at the last minute in July following reports of a drought in the country.

North Koreans are also forbidden from expressing gratitude on Mothers' Day because it detracts their attention from Kim, according to the Daily NK website.

"It's really sad that people have to express thanks to 'the father' Kim Jong-un after every little thing he does, but we cannot express thanks to our actual mothers on Mothers' Day," a resident of South Pyongyang province told the website.

South Korean officials are keeping a close eye on their neighbours' nuclear activities. The NIS said this week that although there has been no sign of a new nuclear test in the North, "we forecast that depending upon North Korean leader Kim's determination, a nuclear test is possible any time".

US President Donald Trump placed North Korea on a list of states believed to be sponsoring terrorism on Monday (20 November) after returning to Washington from his Asia tour.

"This designation will impose further sanctions and penalties on North Korea and related persons and supports our maximum pressure campaign to isolate the murderous regime," Trump told reporters at the White House.

Kim Jong-Un
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has banned drinking parties and singing as Pyongyang feels the effects of UN sanctions Reuters