The 7th Party Congress in North Korea: An Analysis of Kim Jong Un's Report

The Asia Pacific Journal, Vol. 14, No. 8

22 Pages Posted: 25 Nov 2016

Date Written: July 2016


The single most remarkable feature of the 7th Congress of the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK) was that it took place at all, after a hiatus of no less than 36 years. Ever since Kim Il Sung decided in the 1950s that his country needed its own way of doing things, which is often summarized under the term of chuch’e, it has been hard to categorize the DPRK as a typical socialist country. North Korea has always been different. It neither joined the military alliance of the Warsaw Pact nor was it willing to engage in the Soviet-led economic cooperation of COMECON. Its ideology moved further and further away from core premises of Marxism-Leninism. With its Hegelian emphasis on “mind over matter”, which in North Korea is called “man is master of everything”, Pyongyang’s ideology stood directly opposed to the key paradigm of Marx’s Dialectical Materialism. Even from the perspective of the Eastern European socialist brothers, North Korea was therefore a rather odd and even suspicious member of the socialist family, as countless documents unearthed from archival sources reveal. But the fact that a Communist party in power did not hold a congress for almost four decades has nevertheless to be regarded as highly unusual. The 7th Congress was therefore, without doubt, per se a noteworthy event.

Keywords: Korea (North and/or South), North Korea (politics and society), North Korean Economy, North Korea, North Korean Studies

Suggested Citation

Frank, Ruediger, The 7th Party Congress in North Korea: An Analysis of Kim Jong Un's Report (July 2016). The Asia Pacific Journal, Vol. 14, No. 8, Available at SSRN:

Ruediger Frank (Contact Author)

University of Vienna ( email )

Spitalgasse 2, 2.3
Vienna, Vienna 1090

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