7th Congress of the Workers' Party of Korea

The 7th Congress of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK), the ruling party of North Korea, was held on 6–9 May 2016.

7th Congress of the Workers' Party of Korea
Flag of the Workers' Party of Korea.svg
Date6 May 2016 (2016-05-06)–9 May 2016 (2016-05-09)
LocationApril 25 House of Culture, Pyongyang, North Korea
Participants3,467 delegates
OutcomeElection of the Party Chairman, 7th Central Committee and 7th Central Auditing Commission
7th Congress of the Workers' Party of Korea
Chosŏn'gŭl
Hancha
Revised RomanizationJoseollodongdang je7cha daehoe
McCune–ReischauerChosŏllodongdang che7ch'a taehoe

BackgroundEdit

The 7th Congress was the first Congress of the Workers' Party of Korea held since the 6th Congress in 1980.[1] In 2010 the party rules stipulation that Congresses be held every five years was dropped, recognising this had been ignored for thirty years.[2]

The purpose of the Congress was to review the party's work from the time period since the 6th Congress,[3] but also to instill public loyalty toward the leadership of the country.[4]

On 30 October 2015, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported that the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea announced a decision to hold a Congress in early May 2016, saying:

The Political Bureau of the WPK Central Committee decides to convene the 7th Congress of the WPK early in May Juche 105 (2016), reflecting the demand of the party and the developing revolution that witness epoch-making changes in accomplishing the revolutionary cause of Juche, the cause of building a thriving socialist nation.[5]

PreparationsEdit

On 17 February 2016 joint slogans were issued by Workers' Party of Korea's Central Military Commission and Central Committee, and they were published by Rodong Sinmun and KCNA.[6]

The Congress was preceded by a "70-day battle" mass mobilization campaign. Human Right Watch claims that the campaign meant uncompensated and forced labor for people across the country, including children, and that the object of the campaign was to boost outputs in manufacture and agriculture and demonstrate loyalty.[7] A five-day holiday was declared for the duration of the Congress.[8]

CongressEdit

 
April 25 House of Culture decorated for the Congress

The Congress was opened on 6 May 2016 at the April 25 House of Culture in Pyongyang,[9] in the presence of 3,467 voting delegates.[10] Unlike the last congress, there were no major foreign delegations,[11] but 128 foreign journalists from 12 countries were allowed to cover the event. Reporters were kept outside of the venue, and a recording of the opening event was only televised later in the evening.[12]

The Congress opened with an address by Kim Jong-un. In it, he praised the country's January 2016 nuclear test and satellite launch.[9] After having chosen its presidium and secretariat, the Congress approved its agenda:[13]

  1. Review of the work of the 6th Central Committee
  2. Review of the work of the 6th Central Auditing Commission
  3. Revision of the WPK Charter
  4. Election of Kim Jong-un to the leadership of the WPK
  5. Election of members to the central leadership organs of the WPK

The Congress continued on 7 May with Kim Jong-un's report on the work of the 6th Central Committee. In the report,[14] Kim Jong-un reiterated the country's nuclear policy, calling it "a responsible nuclear weapons state". According to Kim, North Korea would not use nuclear weapons unless its sovereignty was violated. With regards to the economy, Kim announced the country's first Five-Year Plan since the 1980s.[15] Speeches by other delegates expressed support for Kim's report.[16]

A decision on approving Kim's report was unanimously adopted on 9 May.[17][18] In it, the party vowed to continue building a more extensive nuclear arsenal.[17] A report on the work of the Central Auditing Commission was then heard.[18]

On the 9th, foreign journalists were briefly let in the Congress venue for the first time, during the announcement of Kim Jong-un's election as Chairman of the Workers' Party of Korea.[19] The Congress ended on the 9th, and the day also saw a huge parade in Pyongyang in its honor.[20]

ElectionsEdit

On May 9, Kim Jong-un was re-elected to the leadership of the party. His title in this capacity was changed from First Secretary to Chairman of the Workers' Party of Korea,[19] a title reminiscent of that held by his grandfather before 1966: Chairman of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea.[21]

15 members were elected to the 7th Central Auditing Commission:[22] Choe Sung-ho, Pak Myong-sun, Kim Kyong-nam, Hwang Chol-sik, Kim Yong-chol, Ri Yong-ik, Kim Myong-hun, Kye Yong-sam, Jo Jong-ho, Kye Myong-chol, Jang Jong-ju, Pho Hui-song, Jong Pong-sok, Choe Kwon-su and Ho Kwang-uk.[23] The Commission soon convened and chose as its Chairman Choe Sung-ho and Vice-Chairwoman Pak Myong-sun.[24]

129 members and 106 alternate members were elected to the 7th Central Committee, including Kim Jong-un.[22] It held its first plenum immediately after the Congress, on 10 May, and elected officials.[25]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Frank, Ruediger (20 May 2016). "The 7th Party Congress in North Korea: A Return to a New Normal". 38 North.
  2. ^ "North Korean Party Congress Primer". 38 North. The Henry L. Stimson Center. 20 December 2020. Retrieved 6 January 2021.
  3. ^ Haggard, Stephan (9 May 2016). "Kim Jong Un Doubles Down I: The Opening Speech and the Central Committee Report". Peterson Institution for International Economics. Retrieved 10 May 2016.
  4. ^ Kim Ga Young; Kim Chae Hwan (9 May 2016). "North Korea's 'jangmadang generation' questions the necessity of the Party Congress- Daily NK". Daily NK. Translated by Natalie Grant. Edited by Lee Farrand. Retrieved 10 May 2016.
  5. ^ "Seventh Congress of WPK to Be Convened". KCNA. 30 October 2015. Archived from the original on 12 November 2016. Retrieved 1 April 2016.
  6. ^ "Joint Slogans Announced for 7th Party Congress". North Korea Leadership Watch. 18 February 2016. Retrieved 1 April 2016.
  7. ^ "North Korea: Forced Labor Underpins Party Congress: Real Reform Requires Justice for Rights Abuses". Human Rights Watch. 5 May 2016. Retrieved 6 May 2016.
  8. ^ Seol Song Ah (9 May 2016). "Foreign-currency earning companies operate despite Party Congress". Daily NK. Translated by Jonathan Corrado. Edited by Lee Farrand. Retrieved 10 May 2016.
  9. ^ a b Sang-Hun, Choe (6 May 2016). "North Korean Leader Tells Congress His Nuclear Program Brings 'Dignity'". The New York Times. Retrieved 7 May 2016.
  10. ^ "Kim Jong Un Makes Opening Address at Seventh Congress of WPK". KCNA Watch. KCNA. 6 May 2016. Archived from the original on 4 June 2016. Retrieved 7 May 2016.
  11. ^ "Things to know about North Korea's first congress in decades". The New Zealand Herald. AP. 7 May 2016. Retrieved 7 May 2016.
  12. ^ "So Far, Foreign Reporters in Pyongyang See Sights, but Not Main Show". The New York Times. Additional reporting by James Pearson; Editing by Tony Munroe and Mike Collett-White. Reuters. 6 May 2016. Retrieved 6 May 2016.CS1 maint: others (link)
  13. ^ "Seventh Congress of WPK Opens with Splendor". KCNA Watch. KCNA. 6 May 2016. Archived from the original on 4 June 2016. Retrieved 7 May 2016.
  14. ^ "WPK Central Committee Report to 7th Party Congress". North Korea Leadership Watch. 7 May 2016. Archived from the original on 12 October 2016. Retrieved 8 May 2016.
  15. ^ Fifield, Anna (8 May 2016). "North Korea announces five-year economic plan, its first since the 1980s". The Washington Post. Retrieved 8 May 2016.
  16. ^ "Second-day Sitting of Seventh Congress of WPK Held". KCNA Watch. KCNA. 7 May 2016. Archived from the original on 4 June 2016. Retrieved 8 May 2016.
  17. ^ a b "North Korea congress adopts decision to further boost nuclear capability". Reporting by Jack Kim; editing by Peter Cooney and G Crosse. Reuters. 8 May 2016. Retrieved 9 May 2016.CS1 maint: others (link)
  18. ^ a b "Third-day Sitting of Seventh Congress of WPK Held". KCNA Watch. KCNA. 8 May 2016. Archived from the original on 5 June 2016. Retrieved 9 May 2016.
  19. ^ a b Talmadge, Eric (9 May 2016). "N. Korean leader gets new title; 3 BBC journalists get boot". The Washington Post. Associated Press. Archived from the original on 10 May 2016. Retrieved 10 May 2016.
  20. ^ "Pink petals and cardboard missiles: North Korea ends congress with rally". The Guardian. Contributed by Reuters and Agence France-Presse. 10 May 2016. Retrieved 10 May 2016.CS1 maint: others (link)
  21. ^ Fifield, Anna (9 May 2016). "At four-day congress, North Korean leader proves his strength". The Washington Post. Retrieved 10 May 2016.
  22. ^ a b "Seventh Congress of WPK Closes". KCNA. 10 May 2016. Retrieved 10 May 2016.
  23. ^ "Official Report of Seventh Congress of the WPK". Naenara. Retrieved 11 May 2016.
  24. ^ "Chairman, Vice-Chairwoman of Central Auditing Commission of WPK Elected". Rodong Sinmun. 10 May 2016. Retrieved 10 May 2016.
  25. ^ "Official Report of First Plenary Meeting of 7th WPK Central Committee Issued". KCNA. 10 May 2016. Retrieved 10 May 2016.

External linksEdit