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North Korea's Workers' Party to hold first congress for 35 years

North Korea Workers' Party congress in 1980 Image copyright AFP/Getty
Image caption The last Workers' Party congress was held in 1980

North Korea's Workers' Party is to hold its first congress in 35 years, it has been announced.

The meeting will "further strengthen the party... and enhance its leading role", an official announcement said.

It is unclear how significant the gathering will be as the body holds no official power, BBC Korea correspondent Stephen Evans reports.

There have been six congresses since the party came to power in 1945 - the last being held in 1980.

At the time, current ruler Kim Jong-un's grandfather, Kim Il-sung, was in charge. Kim Jong-il's appearance at the congress confirmed that he was in line to succeed his father as leader.

The meeting will be an opportunity to gauge whether policy in North Korea is changing, our correspondent says.

Other congresses have seen party officials elected, party regulations adopted and discussion of major policies.

The official announcement added the party was facing "the heavy yet sacred task" of building a "thriving" nation.

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