Thousands pack into Pyongyang’s April 25 House of Culture for the first congress of North Korea’s Workers’ Party in 36 years. And, as Nathan Frandino reports, the country’s nuclear ambitions are dominating the agenda.
North Korean leader hails nuclear success at opening congress
North Korea’s first congress in 36 years kicked off on Friday with leader Kim Jong Un hailing the country’s recent nuclear test and satellite launch.
Flanked by his top military aide and titular head of state, Kim was met by thousands of delegates from across the country.
In his opening speech, the 33-year-old leader said the Workers’ Party meeting would make history.
(SOUNDBITE) (Korean) NORTH KOREAN LEADER KIM JONG UN SAYING:
“The party congress will be an historic opportunity marking a new milestone in a struggle for consolidating and developing the glorious party adhering to the ideology of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il as well as completing the great achievements of socialism.”
He is expected to further consolidate his control over the isolated country.
The leader remained defiant against U.N.-imposed sanctions and boasted of the nation’s fourth nuclear test in January.
(SOUNDBITE) (Korean) NORTH KOREAN LEADER KIM JONG UN SAYING (OVERLAID WITH VARIOUS OF PARTY CONGRESS MEMBERS LISTENING)
“In this year of the seventh party congress, the military and the people accomplished the great success in the first hydrogen bomb test and the launch of an earth observation satellite, Kwangmyongsong-4.”
The congress is expected to run for several days.