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North Korea Convenes Rare Party Conference




In this frame grab made off undated North Korea's Korean Central Television (KCTV) footage aired on October 11, 2008 North Korean leader Kim Jong Il claps as he inspects a female military unit in North Korea. (Korean Central Television/Yonhap via Getty Images)

In this frame grab made off undated North Korea's Korean Central Television (KCTV) footage aired on October 11, 2008 North Korean leader Kim Jong Il claps as he inspects a female military unit in North Korea. (Korean Central Television/Yonhap via Getty Images)

All eyes are on North Korea this week, as the ruling Korean Workers Party is expected to hold a historic meeting of delegates, according to Asia Society Senior Fellow John Delury. Rumored to be held in Pyongyang, not much is known about North Korea's largest political gathering in three decades for a meeting with such far-reaching implications.

"Media attention is focused on clues to succession plans, as well as indications of the fate of North Korea's nuclear program and the stalled Six Party Talks [aimed at disarming North Korea], soon to be entering deep freeze," says Delury. "But questions of politics and diplomacy should not entirely eclipse economics. There was a heavy emphasis on economics during both of National Defense Commission Chairman Kim Jong Il's visits to China this year, and other indications that North Korea is on the cusp of some kind of departure in economic policy."

According to LA Times, the guest of honor is Kim Jong Il's youngest son, Kim Jong Eun, who is also expected to assume the reins of power from his ailing father, who is reportedly partially paralyzed since suffering a stroke in 2008.

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