The first convention in more than four years will be held amid the COVID-19 pandemic and a change in US president.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un chaired a Politburo meeting on preparations for a rare party congress in early January that is expected to set new economic and political goals for the country, state media reported on Wednesday.
Tuesday’s meeting approved agendas and proposals to be presented to Congress – the first by the ruling Workers’ Party in more than four years – and agreed to hold the event early next month, reported the official news agency KCNA, without specifying the exact date. .
North Korea faced a number of challenges in 2020 with COVID-19 and a series of typhoons adding to the pressure on an economy already hit by international sanctions aimed at ending its nuclear program.
The country is also facing a new face in the White House with the departure of President Donald Trump – who has engaged in a number of historic meetings with Leader Kim Jong Un – and the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden in January.
North Korea has not commented on the change in leadership in the United States, and it is not yet clear what Biden’s presidency will mean for Washington-Pyongyang relations.
In October, Kim called on his country to embark on an 80-day campaign to achieve its goals in all economic sectors ahead of the congress.
“All preparations for the Party Congress are going smoothly,” KCNA reported.
Congress last met in 2016, where Kim announced the first five-year economic plan since the 1980s and pledged not to use nuclear weapons unless the country’s sovereignty was violated by others with nuclear weapons. It was also when Kim was officially elected as chairman of the ruling Workers’ Party.
North Korea says it has had no cases of the coronavirus, but it has also closed its borders to almost all traffic in a bid to avoid an outbreak.