North Korea kicks off key party meeting ahead of new year

North Korea kicks off key party meeting ahead of new year

North Korea kicks off key party meeting ahead of new year

North Korea has begun a year-end governing party conference, which will be attended by leader Kim Jong Un, according to state media, with significant policy choices for 2024 anticipated to be announced.

Instead of delivering a customary New Year’s Day address, Kim has utilised the Workers’ Party of Korea’s plenary meeting in previous years to announce policy in sectors like as security, diplomacy, and the economy.

This year’s summit comes at the end of a year in which Pyongyang successfully launched a reconnaissance satellite, entrenched its nuclear status in its constitution, and tested its most powerful intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).

At Tuesday’s meeting, Kim defined 2023 as a “year of great turn and great change” as well as one of “great importance”, the North’s official Korean Central News Agency reported.

Pyongyang saw “eye-opening victories and events achieved in all fields for socialist construction and the strengthening of the national power,” Kim said, according to KCNA.

He also said that Pyongyang’s new strategic weapons, including its spy satellite, had “unswervingly put” the North “on the position of a military power”.

The meeting will involve six primary points of discussion, KCNA said, including a review of how North Korea’s national policies were implemented during the year as well as a look ahead to the national budget and “direction of struggle” for 2024.

Kim last week said Pyongyang would not hesitate to launch a nuclear attack if “provoked” with nukes.

The North last week tested its solid-fuel Hwasong-18, its most advanced ICBM, for the third time in 2023.

Pyongyang’s launch last month of a military spy satellite, which it claimed quickly began providing images of US and South Korean military sites, further damaged ties with South Korea.

The launch fractured a military agreement between the Koreas established to de-escalate tensions on the peninsula, with both sides then ramping up security along the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) that separates them.