For the first time in 36 years, North Korea is holding its first congress of its ruling Workers' Party on Friday, as Kim Jong Un is expected to strengthen his control over his isolated country due to its pursuit of nuclear weapons.
Ahead of the congress, North Korea announced "miraculous results," and disclosed that its advances in nuclear and ballistic missile developments were ''the greatest gifts'' for the unusual party congress, however didn’t reveal details.
Although foreign journalists were invited to cover the event, they were not permitted inside the April 25 House of Culture on Friday, where the Workers’ Party congress is expected to take place.
Thousands of delegates from North Korea’s Workers’ Party are expected to attend the first congress since 1980, in which 33-year-old Kim hadn’t been born yet.
Analysts expect Kim to adopt the “Byongjin” policy of pursuing nuclear weapons and economic development along with consolidating his power.
“Byongjin” follows Kim's father's Songun, or "military first" policy, and his grandfather's Juche, the North’s home-grown founding ideology that incorporates Marxism and nationalism.
State radio said the 7th Workers' Party congress would "unveil the brilliant blueprint to bring forward the final victory of our revolution," according to South Korea's Yonhap news agency.
Meanwhile, representatives from China, North Korea’s biggest ally, were not invited to attend the party’s congress, according to the Global Times, a Chinese newspaper that has close ties to China’s ruling Communist Party.
"North Korea wants to maintain its independent stance," Professor Da Zhigang from the Institute of Northeast Asian Studies told the newspaper.
North Korean state media trumpeted a 70-day campaign of aggressive productivity in the days leading up to the congress, as Pyongyang has been spruced up for the event.
North Korea has been bent on nuclear weapons and ballistic missile technology. In March, the UN Security Council issued toughening sanctions against North Korea, which tested its fourth nuclear weapons in January.
South Korea has been on alert in anticipation that the North could conduct another nuclear test to coincide with the congress.