North Korea will hold a key political conference next week, the country's state media reported Monday, amid rising tensions over Pyongyang's planned rocket launch.
The Workers' Party will convene the conference in Pyongyang on April 11, the North's official Korean Central News Agency said in a dispatch.
The North has elected its leader Kim Jong-un as a delegate to the conference, "reflecting the unanimous will and desire of all the party members, service personnel and people," the dispatch said.
The announcement comes as the communist country vowed repeatedly to go ahead with the long-range rocket launch in defiance of international warnings and pressure.
The North has claimed that the launch set for sometime between April 12 and 16 is designed to put an earth observation satellite into orbit.
The launch is timed to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of late President Kim Il-sung, the country's founder and grandfather of current leader Kim Jong-un, which falls on April 15. The impoverished country has vowed to usher in a prosperous and powerful nation by the milestone anniversary.
However, South Korea, the United States and other regional powers suspect the launch could be a cover for testing the North's ballistic missile technology, which is banned under a U.N. resolution.
Source: Yonhap News Agency