North Korea kicked off the first congress of its ruling Workers’ Party in 36 years today by hailing its ‘prestige’ as a nuclear power which will ‘bring forward the final victory of the revolution’.
The ostracized state, which in recent months has increased its pursuit of nuclear weapons, today held its first ruling party congress since the rule of tyrant Kim Jong-Un’s grandfather, Kim Il-Sung.
Preparation for the event has been a top priority for the North Korean Government – officials have been forced into seven day working weeks in order to ready the capital Pyongyang for the government-enforced festivities.
Ahead of the event, it trumpetedadvances in nuclear and ballisticmissile developments that were ‘the greatest gifts’ for the rareparty congress, but little of substance was revealed.
Thousands of delegates from around North Korea were expectedto attend the first congress since 1980, before 33-year-old Kimwas born.
Security guards dressed in suits and ties surroundedthe venue and dozens of empty buses were parked outside.
Foreign analysts expect the third-generation leader of theKim dynasty to formally adopt his ‘Byongjin’ policy ofsimultaneously pursuing nuclear weapons and economicdevelopment, and to further consolidate his power.
Byongjin follows Kim’s father’s Songun, or ‘military first’policy, and his grandfather’s Juche, the North’s home-grownfounding ideology that combines Marxism and extreme nationalism.
Foreign journalists invited to cover the event were not permitted inside the April 25 House of Culture, the stone-built structure draped in red party flags where the congress is expected to run for days.
State media previewed the event by hailing the North’s most recent nuclear test in January as evidence of its ‘greatness and prestige as a nuclear power state.’
And the North’s Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea slammed the international community’s opposition to Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons programme.
‘Regardless of whether someone recognises it or not, our status as a nuclear state that is armed with H-bombs cannot change,’ the committee said in a statement.
North Korea’s state television began its daily broadcastearlier than usual today, with special programming heraldingthe feats of its leaders.
State radio said the 7th Workers’ Party congress would ‘unveil the brilliant blueprint to bring forward the finalvictory of our revolution’, according to South Korea’s Yonhapnews agency.
North Korean state media has trumpeted a 70-day campaign ofintensified productivity in the run-up to the congress, andPyongyang has been spruced up for the event.