See More on Facebook

Analysis, Diplomacy

Pyongyang to hold party meeting ahead of year-end deadline

Kim Jong-un rides up Paektusan again, highlights self-reliance and revolutionary spirit.

Written by

Updated: December 5, 2019

North Korea will hold a plenary meeting around the end of December to decide on “crucial issues,” its state-run news agency said Wednesday.

On the same day, the Korean Central News Agency reported that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un rode up Paektusan on a white horse accompanied by military commanders, raising speculation that the communist regime may take more provocative military actions as the year-end deadline it set for denuclearization talks with the US quickly approaches.

North Korea’s Workers’ Party of Korea announced Tuesday that the 5th Plenary Meeting of the 7th Central Committee of the WPK would convene around the end of December, Korea Central News Agency reported, “in order to discuss and decide on crucial issues in line with the needs of the development of the Korean revolution and the changed situation at home and abroad.”

The last plenary meeting was held in April, where the North Korean leader urged the US to come up with a new proposal for denuclearization negotiations and set a year-end deadline. Kim also warned that he would take a “new way” if Washington fails to offer an acceptable proposal.

The announcement of the meeting comes as the North Korean leader was reported to have ridden up Paektusan on a white horse.

Accompanied by commanding officers, Kim recollected the “bloody history of guerrillas who recorded dignity on the first page of the history of the Korean revolution by shedding their blood in the vast plain of Mt. Paektu,” the KCNA said.

Choe Ryong-hae, the president of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly and Pyongyang’s second in command, and Gen. Park Jong-chon, the chief of the Korean People’s Army, were among Kim’s retinue, according to the KCNA.

Kim’s visit to Paektusan marks the second time this year. On Oct. 16, the North Korean leader was photographed riding a white horse on the mountain, where he reportedly stressed the importance of self-reliance against outside forces, including the US. The mountain holds symbolic importance for the regime, which claims it as the birthplace of the late former leader Kim Jong-il, the father of Kim Jong-un, as part of the mythology surrounding the Kim regime.

The Unification Ministry said it is not unusual for Pyongyang to convene the meeting.

“North Korea’s regulation stipulates it hold the plenary meeting at least once in a year,” Unification Ministry Spokesperson Lee Sang-min said at Wednesday’s regular briefing.

“And Pyongyang has been seen holding the meeting twice a year, or even four times in a year in the past. So I don’t think convening the meeting is unusual.”

As the meeting is held just before the New Year’s speech by Kim Jong-un, Lee said the ministry will closely watch the situation.

As the year-end deadline approaches, both Washington and Pyongyang are seen to ramp up pressure against each other. US President Donald Trump hinted that the US can use military force against the North as necessary, though he reiterated that his personal relationship with the North Korean leader remains good.

“Now we have the most powerful military we’ve ever had and we’re by far the most powerful country in the world,” Trump told reporters in London, where he is attending a meeting of North Atlantic Treaty Organization leaders.

“And, hopefully, we don’t have to use it, but if we do, we’ll use it. If we have to, we’ll do it,” he said.

Earlier on the same day, the North’s Vice Foreign Minister Ri Thae-song issued a statement warning the US against using their denuclearization negotiations to influence domestic politics. He also said it is entirely up to the US to select what “Christmas gift” it will get.

Kim Dong-yub, a professor at Kyungnam University’s North Korean Studies School, said North Korea may possibly break away from the negotiations with the US and choose a “new way.”

“The North Korean party’s plenary meeting is a very important event for the regime. In the New Year’s speech, I believe Pyongyang will reconfirm its status as a nuclear power and highlight reinforcing its self-defense capabilities,” Kim said.

“Domestically, Kim will announce a new strategy encouraging self-rehabilitation for economic development. Externally, North Korea will break away from negotiating with the US and seek for a new way of cooperating with China and Russia,” Kim said.

Enjoyed this story? Share it.

The Korea Herald
About the Author: The Korea Herald is the nation’s largest English-language daily and the country’s sole member of the Asia News Network.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia

Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.

By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here

Analysis, Diplomacy

New coronavirus cases rise to 571 in Chinese mainland

China’s National Health Commission said cases of the new coronavirus pneumonia disease rose to 571 on the Chinese mainland as of Wednesday midnight, including 95 in critical condition, and fatalities rose to 17,  on Thursday morning. Latest on pneumonia epidemic: Cases of the new coronavirus pneumonia disease rose to 571 on the Chinese mainland as of Wednesday midnight, including 95 in critical condition, and fatalities rose to 17, China’s National Health Commission said on Thursday morning. In addition, 393 suspected cases were reported as of Wednesday midnight. All the reported deaths were in Hubei province, the epicenter of the outbreak. Outside the mainland, Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan each confirmed one case.

By China Daily
January 23, 2020

Analysis, Diplomacy

Strictest measures enacted to contain viral pneumonia in China

As the pathogen continues to spread, the strictest prevention and control measures are being adopted by the Chinese health authorities for the new strain of coronavirus that has caused a pneumonia outbreak in Wuhan. Chinese health authorities are adopting the strictest prevention and control measures for the new strain of coronavirus that has caused a pneumonia outbreak in Wuhan, Hubei province, as the pathogen continues to spread. On Monday, 77 new confirmed cases of the virus — 2019-nCoV — were reported on the Chinese mainland, bringing the total number of confirmed cases on the Chinese mainland to 291, six of whom died, the National Health Commission said on Tuesday afternoon. Among the new cases, 72 were reported in Hubei province, two in Shanghai a

By China Daily
January 22, 2020

Analysis, Diplomacy

Wuhan virus: China confirms human-to-human transmission, says medical workers infected

China’s health commission said on Monday (Jan 20)  that medical workers have been infected by the deadly coronavirus first discovered in the central city of Wuhan, confirming it can be transmitted between people. “The current situation is that it is no longer animal to human transmission, but human to human,” said Chinese pulmonologist Zhong Nanshan, who discovered the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (Sars) coronavirus in 2003 and now heads an expert panel under the health commission. He cited a case in Guangdong, where the patient had not been to Wuhan but caught the virus from a family member. Dr Zhong also said 14 medical personnel helping with coronavirus patients have been infected by one carrier. “The key to controlling the spread o

By The Straits Times
January 21, 2020

Analysis, Diplomacy

Trump invites Asean leaders, including Duterte, to summit in US

Donald Trump, the US President has invited Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and 11 other leaders of the Asean to a summit to be held in Las Vegas in March. US President Donald Trump has invited Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and 11 other leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) to a summit to be held in Las Vegas in March. “The invitation was first conveyed during the Asean-US meeting at the Asean Summit and related summits in Bangkok last November. The United States then reiterated its invitation through a letter dated Jan. 9, 2020,”the Palace said. The Palace also released a copy of Trump’s letter to the Asean leaders dated Nov. 1, given during last year’s Asean summit in Bangkok. “I would also like

By Philippine Daily Inquirer
January 20, 2020

Analysis, Diplomacy

North Korea beefs up self-defense capabilities in military reorganization

The North have been making many changes ahead of talks. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un presided over a meeting of the top military decision-making body to accelerate the development of self-defense capabilities ahead of key events that will decide its national strategy, its state media reported Sunday. Discussions on ways to bolster its military capabilities through organizational restructuring and personnel reshuffle were highlighted during the third expanded meeting of the seventh central military commission of the ruling Workers’ Party. Details on what measures were discussed were not disclosed. “At the meeting, Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un

By The Korea Herald
December 23, 2019

Analysis, Diplomacy

Modi defends citizenship decision

PM Modi says it has nothing to do with Indian Muslims. Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, that unity in diversity is integral to India while addressing ‘Aabhar Rally’ at Delhi’s Ramlila Maidan today to kick start Bharatiya Janata Party’s Delhi Assembly Elections campaign slated for early next year, amid protests in Delhi and all over the country against the contentious Citizenship Act and the National Register of Citizenship(NRC). Modi raised slogan of ‘vividhta me ekta, Bharat ki visheshta’ (Unity in diversity is India’s speciality). PM Modi while giving his party and government’s view on CAA and NRC said, “Muslims being misled, I have always ensured that documents will never come in way of development schemes and their beneficiaries.” Citizenship law and NRC have nothing to do with Indian Muslims or with Indian citizens, he clarified. “We have never asked

By The Statesman
December 23, 2019