Thoughts about the 7th Congress of the WPK

Since its establishment in 1948, North Korea has been effectively controlled by the Workers’ Party of Korea. Starting from the 6th May, the WPK will hold its seventh congress. The WPK congress is a gathering of delegates of the WPK. Exceptionally there will be no delegations from foreign countries (177 delegations from 118 countries were represented on the 6th Congress including Mikhail Gorbatchov,  Robert Mugabe and many others). The frequency of party congress varied during the last 70 years. This congress is the first since October 1980. The first Plenum (meeting) will elect the central party leadership (including members of the Presidium, full and candidate members of the Politburo, Secretariat and PCMC). As of now, the power had been pretty much transferred to Kim Jong-un including military, North-South relations and foreign diplomacy. Nevertheless the power of Kim Jong-un may be reinforced through the creation of new political structures.

Chronology of WPK Congress

1.      WPK Congress 28-30 august 1946
2.      WPK Congress 27-30 march 1948
3.     WPK Congress 23-29 april 1956
4.     WPK Congress 11-18 september 1961
5.     WPK Congress 2-13 november 1970
6.     WPK Congress 10-14 october 1980

Issues to be developed during the Congress

  • I’m wondering whether some officials are going to be blamed and whether Kim Jong-un will address some economic reforms.
  • The WPK will undergo a change in leadership during its 7th Party Congress? Will we see any evolutions within the WPK?
Kim Jong Un and Kim Jong Il
Kim Jong-un and his father Kim Jong-il (source: CRI online)

An Hungarian diplomat mentioned during the 6th Congress of the KWP that “it seems that there will be no considerable changes in the Korean’s political orientation at the 6th Congress of the KWP, aside from some possible formal elements.” We will probably face with the same situation at the 7th Congress of the KWP.

Conclusion

Taking in account sanctions applied against North Korea and other external factors, I’m certain that North Korea (under its current form) can’t last long. Kim Jong-un’s reputation is bad. Disorder is prevalent and corruption is everywhere. North Korea needs foreign products (80% of commodities present in North Korea are Chinese) and foreign currencies. Sanctions are blocking the North Korean economy and affecting the North Korean population. In order to get foreign currencies, I consider that North Korean authorities will increase its share in illegal activities and will kidnap more foreigners.

S5001006
The building of the WPK (source: Nicolas Levi)
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