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N. Korea Postpones Workers` Party Conference

Posted September. 16, 2010 17:33,   


North Korea has apparently postponed a convention of its ruling Workers’ Party scheduled for mid-September, with only rumors circulating over an imminent assembly.

Pyongyang did not announce the event Wednesday, the deadline the party set to hold its first convention in 44 years. This has led experts to say the conference was postponed.

A government official in Seoul said, “We are more inclined to believe in postponement,” adding, “It’s difficult to predict whether the convention will take place before the Chuseok (Full Moon Harvest) holidays or later.”

Another source said, “We hear from officials of international organizations or diplomats (who work in North Korea) that the party convention is believed to have been postponed,” adding, “The event apparently did not take place today.”

Good Friends, a South Korean humanitarian group championing human rights in the North, said, “(North Korean authorities) finally decided Monday to postpone the meeting,” adding, “It looks like Pyongyang will discuss the schedule for the party convention again at the end of the month, and will decide to hold it before the party’s anniversary Oct. 10.”

On the reason for the delay, the group said, “The party convention has been postponed due to failure to assemble the necessary quorum (half the number of people required),” adding, “Many representatives from the provinces whose attendance was required failed to arrive in time due to severed roads and traffic stemming from flood damage.”

“Because distrust and discontent could build up against Kim Jong Il’s heir apparent Kim Jong Un, confident inauguration of the successor is possible only after Pyongyang finds the means to recover from flood damage and resolves its food shortage.”

Other analysts say the delay is due to internal conflict over the selection and appointment of key party posts.

A South Korean government source said, “Chances are high that North Korean leader Kim Jong Il’s key aides like Jang Sung Taek and O Kuk Ryol, vice chairmen of the National Defense Commission, are engaged in a power struggle behind the scenes to position their men at key posts, and demanded more time.”

“The North Korean leader is in no position to completely disregard their voices to stably maintain his regime, and is believed to be adjusting recruitment by delaying the opening of the convention.”

The official homepage of Kim Il Sung Broadcast University, an institution under the direct supervision of the Workers’ Party, said in a posting Wednesday, “By properly selecting the successor to the Dear Leader,” North Korea must build a “unique leadership system.”