North Korea putting finishing touches on prep for Workers’ Party Congress

Posted on : 2016-05-05 13:58 KST Modified on : 2019-10-19 20:29 KST
May 6 gathering is the first in 36 years, and is expected to consolidate the rule of leader Kim Jong-un
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un

Day by day, North Korea has been working to set the mood for the 7th Congress of the Korean Workers' Party (KWP), scheduled to begin on May 6, by touting the achievements of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and by advertising the success of the "70-day battle." With the party congress - the first to be held in 36 years - expected to last for three or four days, there is growing interest about what the congress’s resolution will say.

On May 4, KWP newspaper the Rodong Sinmun published an editorial titled, "We'll follow the revolutionary road to its end" in which it reported on what Kim had accomplished during his five years in power and referred to him as "the great sun of the 21st century."

Citing accomplishments such as Ryomyong Street in Pyongyang, the Baekdu Mountain Heroic Youth Power Plant, the 70-day battle and the successful test of a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM), the editorial said that Kim's goal was to erect "the mansion of the most powerful country in the world" atop the "mighty and prosperous socialist state" built by his grandfather Kim Il-sung and his father Kim Jong-il.

In its own way, North Korea seems to be carefully preparing for the party congress. The Rodong Sinmun reported on Wednesday that high-ranking officials in the realms of politics, society and the economy from around 20 countries, including Russia, Iran, Nepal, Mongolia and Bangladesh, had sent congratulatory messages in advance of the congress.

Korea Central Broadcasting, a North Korean radio broadcaster, said on May 3 that the congress participants had arrived in Pyongyang the previous day.

According to various media outlets, the 70-day battle that began on Feb. 23 had wrapped up on May 2, having exceeded its goals.

Presuming that the party congress will last for three or four days as South Korea's National Intelligence Service believes, a source who is familiar with North Korean affairs said that Kim Jong-un will deliver a summation report for the KWP Central Committee along with the opening address on May 6. The general business report is an opportunity to assess and discuss the business conducted during the 36 years that the party congress has not been held.

On May 7, there will be a general business report by the KWP Central Auditing Commission and a debate about revising the party rules, followed by the adoption of a resolution containing major policy guidelines in the areas of politics, the economy, South Korea and foreign affairs. On May 8, elections will take place for members of the Central Committee and other important positions, after which the congress will conclude, the source predicted.

"Through the 7th Party Congress, North Korea appears to be seeking both to put the finishing touches to the institutions of the party-state system based on the North Korean brand of socialism and also to consolidate the Kim Jong-un regime," said Ministry of Unification spokesman Jeong Joon-hee during the regular press briefing on Wednesday.

By Kim Jin-cheol, staff reporter

Please direct questions or comments to [english@hani.co.kr]

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