North Korea will hold a national conference of propaganda officials early March for the first time in 18 years, Pyongyang's media reported early Friday. According to South Korea's Yonhap news agency, the event might be used to help train the propaganda officials on how to deliver to citizens the outcomes of the Feb. 27-28 Hanoi summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and President Donald Trump.
The national conference of primary information workers of the party includes party officials who lead ideology education for its citizens at factories and farms.
"The conference will discuss the tasks and ways for the primary information workers of the Party to give full play to the inexhaustible vitality of the mass political work as the standard-bearer of the ideological front and the front-line bugler in the struggle to implement the new strategic line of the Workers' Party of Korea," the KCNA said.
The conference in April 2001 was attended by around 6,000 officials. The number of attendees this year remains unclear.
The news of the rare conference also comes as North Korea claimed that sanctions and recent natural disasters have significantly decreased the country's food supply. A memo obtained by NBC News from North Korea's U.N. ambassador revealed that a food shortage has forced a significant cut in food rations. The reclusive country raised pleas for help from international organizations.
While the memo blamed record summer temperatures for a severe drought, followed by "severe floods" in "major agrarian areas," it also cited "the sanctions regime restricting the delivery of farming materials" as a contributing factor to the food shortage.
"All in all, it vindicates that humanitarian assistance from the U.N. agencies is terribly politicized and how barbaric and inhuman sanctions are," the memo, which came ahead of the summit in Vietnam later in February, read. Trump and Kim are set to discuss Pyongyang's denuclearization steps and Washington's corresponding measures.
It is expected that Pyongyang's decision on denuclearization could lead to easing of sanctions and improving bilateral relations between North Korea and the U.S. The Trump administration also committed to striking a deal at the Hanoi summit.
The 15-member UN Security Council has unanimously boosted sanctions on North Korea since 2006 in a bid to stop funding for Pyongyang's nuclear and ballistic missile programs. Despite many warnings since then, Pyongyang had conducted several missile tests and warned of developing missiles capable of carrying a nuclear warhead.