News / Asia

North Korea Set to Convene Delayed Rare Political Conference

North Korea is preparing to convene a rare meeting of its only political party to select new leaders. As the delegates assemble in Pyongyang, South Korea and the United States are holding a maritime exercise in the Yellow Sea intended to deliver a message of deterrence to the North.

North Korea's last Workers' Party Congress took place in 1980.

Analysts expect this conclave will fill vacant party posts and name some younger officials to replace elderly central committee members.

Anticipation is high that supreme leader Kim Jong Il's youngest son, Kim Jong Un, will be given a prominent job.

Professor Lee Woo Young at the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul agrees with that assessment.

He says since Workers' Party meetings deal with organizations within the party it is highly likely Kim Jong Un is going to be officially appointed to a post.

There are numerous reports that Kim Jong Il's health continues to deteriorate. Regional experts suspect he suffered a stroke two years ago.

The party conference was originally set for early September. No reason was given for the delay, but some North Korea analysts speculate the leader's health may be one reason. Recent flooding also may have delayed the meeting.

Professor Lee says it is likely the damage from this month's rainstorms prevented delegates from reaching the capital.

Lee says the meeting is supposed to be held in a festive atmosphere but the floods ruined it and made it logistically difficult to hold the meeting as originally scheduled. But he also acknowledges the possibility that top officials failed to agree about who would get certain posts, including Kim Jong Un.

As North Korea prepares for its political gathering, South Korea and the United States on Monday began a joint maritime exercise in the Yellow Sea. The five-day anti-submarine war game is the latest in a series of joint military drills this year.

Officials of both militaries say the drill is meant to send a clear message of deterrence to North Korea.

The United States and South Korea are among the countries blaming North Korea for the sinking of a South Korean warship in the Yellow Sea six months ago. An international investigation concluded the vessel was destroyed by a North Korean torpedo. Pyongyang denies responsibility.

North Korea has condemned the exercise, saying it is a rehearsal for a nuclear war.

An uneasy peace has prevailed on the Korean peninsula since 1953 when fighting in the devastating three-year civil war ended. No peace treaty has ever been signed.

You May Like

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid