North Korea is set to convene its party representatives in early September to elect new leadership fueling speculation that the communist regime may officially start the process of a power transition.
Pyeongyang's official Central News Agency announced that the rare session which is the first of its kind since 1966 will be the venue "for electing its ruling Worker's Party's highest leading body" as the country goes through decisive changes and marks its 65th anniversary this year.
Considering the fact that such a gathering was held only twice in 1958 and 1966 experts project that North Korean leader Kim Jong-il could publicly announce his third son, Kim Jong-un as his successor by bestowing on him senior party jobs.
The 68-year-old leader's health is said to have drastically deteriorated since he suffered from an apparent stroke in 2008 and many view the likelihood of a power transition as a move to strengthen his campaign to hand over the top office to his heir.
North Korean leadership has gone under dramatic changes in recent months including this month's promotion of Kim Jong-il's brother-in-law Jang Sung-taek to vice chairman of the National Defense Commission.
Jang is regarded as the support network for the junior Kim as the nation faces both economic and political isolation.
The impoverished state is suffering from economic hardship especially because of ongoing UN sanctions imposed for its nuclear test last year and strained relations with South Korea and the international community for masterminding the sinking of the South Korean naval vessel Cheonan in March.
Yoo Ji-hae, Arirang News.