BEIJING - North Korea's ruling party will convene its congress next January for the first time since May 2016 to set forth a new five-year plan for national economic development, state-run media reported Thursday.
The previous party congress was held for the first time in 36 years, but North Korean leader Kim Jong Un expressed his intention to convene it regularly from now on at a plenary meeting Wednesday of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea, the official Korean Central News Agency said.
Kim acknowledged in his speech that the country's economy has become stagnant against the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic and international sanctions aimed at thwarting Pyongyang's ballistic missile and nuclear ambitions.
Kim "analyzed the subjective and objective environments this year in which we faced unexpected and inevitable challenges in various aspects and the situation in the region surrounding the Korean peninsula," KCNA said.
After the last congress, Kim accelerated the development of missiles and nuclear weapons. In November 2017, he declared the completion of a "state nuclear force."
Since June 2018, Kim has held meetings with U.S. President Donald Trump three times, but denuclearization talks have stalled, making it more difficult for Pyongyang to persuade Washington to lift economic sanctions.
In his latest speech, Kim said the party, power organizations and the armed forces should "encourage and develop good successes" as well as "overcome shortcomings," according to the news agency.
There was no mention in the KCNA report of any announcement by Kim regarding his policy on negotiations with Washington at the plenary meeting, convened in the run-up to the U.S. presidential election in early November.