SEOUL North Korea announced on Wednesday that its ruling Workers' Party congress will open on May 6, ending its silence on the exact starting date of the first such conference in 36 years.
The plan, first announced in October, calls for a rare party conference, at which analysts expect North Korea to formally adopt leader Kim Jong Un's "byongjin" policy to simultaneously push for economic development and nuclear weapons capability.
North Korea's last party conference was held in 1980, before the birth of Kim, who is believed to be 33.
Byongjin follows Kim's father's Songun, or "military first," policy and his grandfather's Juche, the North's home-grown founding ideology that combines Marxism and extreme nationalism.
The event will be closely watched for any major policy adoptions by the isolated country, and how it will present its pursuit of nuclear weapons.
North Korea conducted its fourth nuclear test in January and has pushed ahead with ballistic missile development in defiance of U.N. sanctions and international warnings. It is seen to be readying another nuclear test and missile launches in the run-up to the conference despite new U.N. sanctions imposed in March.
The last Congress of the Workers' Party was held in 1980 under the rule of Kim's grandfather, Kim Il Sung, the state founder. Kim Jong Un's father, Kim Jong Il, who died in December 2011, never held a ruling party congress.
"The Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the WPK decides to open the Seventh Congress of the WPK in Pyongyang on May 6, 2016," state news agency KCNA said. WPK stands for the Workers' Party of Korea.
(Reporting by Jack Kim and Ju-min Park; editing by Tony Munroe and David Gregorio)
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