Kim kicks off key Pyongyang party meeting

Seoul, Jun 9 (EFE).- North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un has opened a major Workers’ Party conference during which decisions are expected to be made on a “series of important issues,” state media reported Thursday.

Officials began the fifth plenary meeting of the party’s 8th Central Committee on Wednesday, state media outlet Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said.

The meeting comes as tension on the Korean Peninsula is at its highest since 2017, amid signs the Pyongyang regime is prepared to carry out a new nuclear test and as an outbreak of Covid-19 hits the country.

The meeting brought together hundreds of officials at the party’s headquarters in Pyongyang, as illustrated by a photo published by KCNA in which no one appears to be wearing a mask.

“The meeting unanimously approved the agenda presented for discussion,” stated the brief text.

“It began the agenda discussion amid high political enthusiasm of all the participants who are fully aware of their important duty in the historic struggle for prosperity and development of our great country and the people’s wellbeing,” it added.

The duration of the meeting is unknown, as is the agenda to be discussed, beyond the fact that a provisional review of state policies is expected to be carried out and that decisions will be made on a “series of important issues,” as North Korean state press said.

Experts believe that decisions will be made on policies related to the pandemic and the economy, although there are doubts about whether the meeting will affect North Korea’s foreign relations or its military industry after the last plenary meeting, held in December, did not mention Seoul and Washington and made little reference to the development of national defense.

The appointment comes at a time marked by an arms escalation on the peninsula, where South Korea and the US have begun to respond to North Korean weapons tests with their own missile launches, proof of the hardened position of new president, the conservative Yoon Suk-yeol.

North Korea, which has completely isolated itself from the outside world since the pandemic began, has ignored invitations to resume dialogue on disarmament and offers of aid to combat Covid-19, and seems focused on a weapons modernization plan approved in 2021 that is behind the record 18 missile tests it has carried out this year. EFE


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