[SEOUL] North Korea announced on Wednesday that its first ruling party congress for nearly four decades will open on May 6, amid increasing concern that Pyongyang will preface the event with a fifth nuclear test.
Anticipation about the congress, the first since 1980, has been growing since the North first signalled its intentions back in October last year.
Kim Jong Un is expected to use the event to cement his position as supreme leader and to take credit for pushing his country's nuclear weapons programme to new heights.
No details have been provided of the itinerary, but the gathering will be scrutinised for any key policy changes or reshuffles among the country's elite.
The actual starting date had been a closely guarded secret prior to Wednesday's announcement by the ruling party's central committee politburo.
In a statement carried by the North's official KCNA news agency, the politburo said the congress - only the seventh in the party's history - would open May 6, but did not specify how long it would last.
The 1980 congress lasted four days.