FILE – In this Oct. 10, 2015 file photo, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un salutes at a parade in Pyongyang, North Korea. North Korea’s ruling party says it will hold its biggest convention in decades next May. The Workers’ Party said Friday, Oct. 30, 2015 its 7th congress will be convened as it’s faced with “the heavy yet sacred task” of build a thriving nation. But it didn’t elaborate on what the party’s highest-level body will determine. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E, File)
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea’s ruling party said Friday it will hold its biggest convention in decades next May.
The Workers’ Party said in a dispatch carried by state media that it has decided to hold its 7th congress as the North is faced with “the heavy yet sacred task” of building a “thriving” nation. It didn’t elaborate on what it will discuss.
Analyst Cheong Seong-chang of the private Sejong Institute in South Korea said that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will likely use the congress to reshuffle party officials, bolster his grip and present major state policies.
Since taking power after the death of his dictator father in late 2011, Kim has been struggling to revive his country’s moribund economy and grappling with an international standoff over the North’s nuclear and missile programs. He rules the country with a slew of high-profile posts, including the first secretary of the Workers’ Party.
The Workers’ Party last held its congress in 1980, when Kim’s father Kim Jong Il made his political debut with an appearance that confirmed he was in line to succeed his father, North Korea founder Kim Il Sung. Other previous congresses elected top party officials, adopted party regulations and discussed major state policies, according to Seoul’s Unification Ministry.
North and South Korea remain divided along the world’s most heavily fortified border since their 1950-53 Korean War ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty.
Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.