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N.Korea to hold party leadership meeting September 28
  • | AFP | September 21, 2010 07:09 AM

A rare meeting of North Korea\'s ruling communist party expected to pave the way for an eventual leadership succession will be held late this month, state media announced Tuesday.

This undated picture released by North Korea\'s Korean Central News Agency on September 13, shows North Korean leader Kim Jong Il (C) visiting the Manpo Unhwa factory in Jagang province.

"The conference of the WPK (Workers\' Party of Korea) for electing its supreme leadership body will take place in Pyongyang on September 28," the Korean Central News Agency said, describing it as an "historic" meeting.

The North earlier scheduled the meeting -- the biggest political gathering for 30 years -- for early September but it was postponed without explanation. Tuesday\'s report was the first to name the date.

The conference is expected to put a new leadership line-up in place, spell out possible policy shifts and pave the way for an eventual power transfer from leader Kim Jong-Il to his youngest son Jong-Un.

South Korean reports said North Korea told international agencies that the delegates\' meeting was postponed due to damage from floods in August and a typhoon that killed dozens in the North.

The elder Kim, 68, has reportedly been speeding up succession planning since he suffered a stroke in August 2008.

Analysts say the conference will likely promote supporters of the dynastic power transfer. Kim took over from his father, Kim Il-Sung.

They say Jong-Un, who is believed aged around 27, may be given a mid-level party post.

Meetings to elect delegates to the conference took place "against the background of a high-pitched drive for effecting a new great revolutionary surge now under way on all fronts for building a thriving nation", the news agency reported.

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