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N. Korea holds key party meeting to discuss 'important policy issues'

North Korea has held the first-day session of a previously announced meeting of the ruling Workers'

Party to discuss "important policy issues for new victory in our revolution," state media said Sunday.

"Guided" by leader Kim Jong-un at the venue in Pyongyang on Saturday, it was to discuss important matters in "the building of the state and national defence," according to the North's official Korean Central News Agency in English.

(Korean Central News Agency-Yonhap)
(Korean Central News Agency-Yonhap)

The plenary meeting of the party's Central Committee has been a key focus of attention, as Pyongyang has set the year-end deadline for Washington to offer concessions in stalled nuclear talks.

Pyongyang has threatened to take a "new way" unless the Trump administration brings a fresh offer.

"The immediate orientation of the struggle of the Party of Korea WPK (Workers' Party of Korea) and the state and important policy issues for new victory in our revolution under the present situation were brought up as agendas of the plenary meeting," the KCNA said.

The meeting was held to "overcome the manifold and harsh trials and difficulties and further accelerate the development of the revolution with transparent anti-imperialist independent stand and firm will," it said.

It added that the session came at a "watershed" time of when a "new historic transformation" is taking placing in relevant undertakings.

The KCNA said the plenary meeting "goes on," suggesting it will be a multiple-day meeting, which is quite unusual.

Although the KCNA did not specify the venue, a photo indicated that it is the headquarters of the Workers' Party, deemed as the "heart" of the North's communist system. More specifically, it appears to be a conference room at an annex to the main building of the compound.

The first-ever plenary session of the committee under the Kim Jong-un regime was held there on March 31, 2013.

The latest meeting, meanwhile, came ahead of a highly anticipated New Year's Day address that the North's leader is expected to deliver Wednesday, which will be closely scrutinized for any possible major policy shift with regard to denuclearization talks with Washington.

Speculation has mounted that North Korea could launch a long-range missile as a "Christmas gift" for Washington. Christmas passed without such a test, but the United States and South Korea have been on high alert for the North's possible major provocations.

Denuclearization talks have been stalled since the second summit between Kim and US President Donald Trump held in Hanoi in February this year ended without an agreement due to wide differences over how to match Pyongyang's denuclearization measures and Washington's sanctions relief.

Saturday's plenary meeting came a week after Pyongyang convened a meeting of the ruling party's central military commission and discussed "important organizational and political measures and military steps to bolster up" the armed forces.

Meanwhile, Kim has appeared for public activities a total of 83 times in 2019 so far, a majority of which have been associated with military and economic fields.

An analysis of the North's state media reports and the unification ministry's data by Yonhap News Agency showed that Kim was involved in military-related activities 24 times, 28.9 percent of the total. He also had as many public schedules related to the economy, mostly on-site visits.

Kim joined 22 rounds of political events, plus 10 rounds of summit talks and other diplomatic schedules, including two meetings with US President Donald Trump, one in Hanoi and the other at the truce village of Panmunjom in Korea. (Yonhap)

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