North Korea's About To Throw Its Biggest Political Bash In 35 Years

The seventh Workers' Party Congress gives North Korean leader Kim Jong-un a chance to flex his political might.

By Matt Picht | May 5, 2016

For the past 70 days, North Korea has been working overtime to prepare Pyongyang for the seventh Workers' Party Congress, a massive gathering of party politicians, which ostensibly sets the country's political agenda.

There hasn't been a meeting like this in over 35 years. The country's leadership has changed hands twice since the last meeting in 1980. Now, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is eager to host a massive show of strength and consolidate political power under him.

To that end, the country's government has imposed harsh controls on its citizens. The so-called "70-day-struggle" features seven-day workweeks, increased government surveillance and restrictions on free movement.

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Kim's regime has also been ramping up military activities ahead of the congress, conducting nuclear tests and missile launches. If the government is aiming for a display of military might, we could see another nuclear test during the meeting.

On the other hand, the country's saber-rattling has led to international sanctions, which have eroded North Korea's slow economic recovery. It's equally likely Kim will choose to focus on economic development during the congress — which would be a major relief to the country's lone ally, China.

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