U.S. braces for North Korea announcement as Pyongyang gathers for major political conference

North Korea has Washington on edge these days. That feeling was amplified Sunday when North Korean state media announced that Pyongyang's ruling Workers' Party launched a major political conference.

The meeting comes ahead of a year-end deadline the country set for the United States to offer concessions amid stalled denuclearization negotiations. While the state news network utilized typically vague language to describe the event, it's clear that the party will focus on how the country plans to address the "harsh trials and difficulties" it faces, including national defense.

The Associated Press reports observers are keeping a close eye on how things unfold as some suspect Pyongyang may finally announce its plans to abandon diplomacy with the U.S. during the conference and begin major weapons tests again after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un agreed to suspend activity in April 2018.

If Pyongyang does resume those tests, White House National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien said the U.S. "has a lot of tools in our toolkit" when asked about how the Trump administration would respond, though he refused to go into detail. Read more at The Hill and The Associated Press.

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