(ATTN: CHANGES headline; UPDATES throughout with details; ADDS photo, byline)
By Yi Wonju
SEOUL, Dec. 1 (Yonhap) -- North Korea will hold a key party meeting later this month to review this year's achievements and discuss plans for the new year, Pyongyang's state media reported Thursday.
The decision was made at a politburo session of the ruling Workers' Party, which leader Kim Jong-un presided over the previous day. He noted the internal and external circumstances of this year were an "unprecedented adversity" that tested its "will and fighting efficiency," according to the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).
"The Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) decided to convene the 6th Plenary Meeting of the 8th Central Committee of the WPK in late December to review the execution of the Party and state policies for 2022 and discuss and decide on work plans for 2023 and a series of important issues arising in the development of the Party and the revolution at present," the KCNA said in an English-language report.
Despite challenges, Kim said a "new phase was opened for the remarkable development of the state and the country's prestige and honor was raised to a new level" thanks to the "correct leadership of the Party Central Committee."
"He said that it is very important for all sectors to find innovative ways for solving the problems by tapping our potentiality and to properly confirm the next year's plan on the basis of the correct analysis of the experience and lessons accumulated in the course of a year's struggle in order to expand the affirmative changes made in the Party building and the overall work of the state this year and vigorously push forward the huge tasks of the new year," according to the KNCA.
During the upcoming session, North Korea could unveil key policy directions toward the U.S. and South Korea for next year, as well as its missile development plan or a possible nuclear test.
Kim could also use the upcoming meeting as a venue to deliver a major speech this year to replace his annual New Year's Day address, usually presented on Jan. 1.
Kim has refrained from giving his New Year's Day speech since 2019, when he delivered a speech at a plenary session of the party and skipped his annual address for the first time since taking office.
The recalcitrant state has sharply escalated tensions on the Korean Peninsula in recent weeks amid growing concerns it could soon carry out its seventh nuclear test.
BTS fails to win Grammy for 3rd consecutive year
Son Heung-min partially wins lawsuit filed by former agent
S. Korea closely watching N. Korea's 'increased' activities to prepare for military parade: Seoul official
(2nd LD) Search under way for 9 missing after fishing boat capsizes
(LEAD) Opposition party takes to streets to protest prosecution probes into leader
Five years after its full nuke armament claim, N. Korea's threat becomes real, further complicated
(News Focus) S. Korea grapples with calls for nuclear armament
Talk of 'normalizing' GSOMIA raises hope, skepticism around Seoul-Tokyo ties
S. Korea, U.S., Japan close ranks amid growing N.K. threats
N. Korea says month-old virus crisis under control, but skepticism lingers