(From Reuters)

North Korea kicked off the first congress of its ruling Workers’ Party in 36 years on Friday, with Kim Jong-un expected to further consolidate his control over a country that has grown increasingly isolated over its pursuit of nuclear weapons.

April 25 House of Culture, the venue of Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) congress in Pyongyang
April 25 House of Culture, the venue of Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK) congress, in Pyongyang

Ahead of the event, secretive North Korea trumpeted “miraculous results” and said advances in nuclear and ballistic missile developments were “the greatest gifts” for the rare party congress, but little of substance was revealed.

On Friday morning, 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 was expected to run for several days.

Thousands of delegates from around North Korea were expected to attend the first congress since 1980, before 33-year-old Kim was born. Security guards dressed in suits and ties surrounded the venue and dozens of empty buses were parked outside.

Foreign analysts expect the third-generation leader of the Kim dynasty to formally adopt his “Byongjin” policy of simultaneously pursuing nuclear weapons and economic development, and to further consolidate his power. Read More

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