What exactly is in store during North Korea’s ruling party congress, which opens Friday and will be presided over by leader Kim Jong Un, remains a well-kept secret. But North Korea’s advances toward becoming a truly credible nuclear power are sure to be touted along with claims of economic advances in the face of the toughest global sanctions it has been hit with in decades.
Also not in doubt: Pyongyang wants the event to grab headlines around the world. The normally well-sealed country has invited a horde of journalists from around the world to give the congress an international spotlight.
Meanwhile, The Rodong Sinmun, mouthpiece of the ruling Workers Party of Korea, said in an editorial Saturday that since the last congress in 1980, North Korea “proudly joined the ranks of advanced nuclear and space powers.”
So while the congress promises to be a big moment in front of foreign cameras for Kim, who has yet to venture abroad or meet with any world leaders, its larger significance may be domestic. The North Koran government has worked hard over the past several months to keep the event foremost in the minds of the nation.
Having said this, details about the congress, the seventh in North Korean history, are frustratingly few. The last congress in 1980 lasted four days. More than 3,000 delegates attended. Representatives from friendly parties abroad were also invited.