Stars and Stripes stripes.com 06 Jan, 2021 14:30 am

North Korea's biggest political event comes at fraught moment

North Korea's biggest political event comes at fraught moment
The Workers' Party congress, which was revived by Kim in 2016 after a 36-year hiatus, began on Tuesday as North Korea, one of the world’s poorest countries, faces what Kim has called “huge challenges and difficulties.”

ANALYSISNorth Korea's biggest political event comes at fraught moment In this May 9, 2016, file photo, the portraits of late North Korean leaders Kim Il Sung, left, and Kim Jong Il hang inside the convention hall of the April 25 House of Culture where the party congress is held in Pyongyang, North Korea.WONG MAYE-E/AP SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea has opened the first full congress of its ruling party in five years, with leader Kim Jong Un admitting his previous economic development plans have failed.The Workers' Party congress, which was revived by Kim in 2016 after a 36-year hiatus, began on Tuesday as North Korea, one of the world’s poorest countries, faces what Kim has called “huge challenges and difficulties” brought on by an economy hammered by pandemic-related border closings, a spate of natural disasters and harsh U.Past party rules required North Korea to hold a congress every five years, but revised guidelines in 2010 don’t specify how often it should be convened.

North Korea’s yearlong closure of its borders to guard against COVID-19 saw its trade volume plummet with China, its biggest trading partner, by about 80% in the first 11 months of 2020.Typhoons and floods last summer destroyed crops, houses and infrastructure across North Korea.

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