Red flags are flying and huge political posters are going up in Pyongyang as North Korea prepares for the first Workers' Party Congress in 36 years. The last party congress was in 1980, before current leader Kim Jong-un was born.

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A man reaches for one of the flags of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) placed in central PyongyangDamir Sagolj/Reuters
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People pass in front of large propaganda posters in central PyongyangDamir Sagolj/Reuters
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People pass in front of a building decorated with slogan "The great comrades Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il will be with us forever"Damir Sagolj/Reuters

The streets of the capital have been cleaned up, buildings are being renovated, and residents can be seen carrying flowers and practising flag-dancing for the congress.

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A strong wind blows as girls practise dancing with red flags in PyongyangDamir Sagolj/Reuters
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People travel on a tram in central PyongyangDamir Sagolj/Reuters
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Women wearing traditional dresses walk into an underground crossing in PyongyangDamir Sagolj/Reuters
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Students cross a bridge in central PyongyangDamir Sagolj/Reuters
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A guide speaks to visitors at the Arch of Triumph in PyongyangDamir Sagolj/Reuters
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A guide wearing a traditional dress leads visitors during a tour of PyongyangDamir Sagolj/Reuters
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Children wearing red scarves walk in front of a department store in PyongyangDamir Sagolj/Reuters
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Workers paint a solar street lamp in the suburbs of PyongyangDamir Sagolj/Reuters
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Construction workers scale a building in PyongyangDamir Sagolj/Reuters
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Labourers work on a construction site in PyongyangDamir Sagolj/Reuters
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North Koreans travel on a tram in central PyongyangDamir Sagolj/Reuters

Kim Jong-un is expected to declare North Korea a nuclear weapons state. Isolated North Korea has conducted a series of weapons tests, including three failed launches of an intermediate-range missile, in the run-up to the Workers' Party congress.

The congress is expected formally adopt his policy, known as Byongjin, to push for economic development and nuclear weapons capability. Byongjin follows Kim's father's Songun, or "military first", policy and his grandfather's Juche, the North's home-grown founding ideology that combines Marxism and extreme nationalism.

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Women harvest crops just outside PyongyangDamir Sagolj/Reuters
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People work in a field just outside PyongyangDamir Sagolj/Reuters
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North Korea has many major agricultural plainsDamir Sagolj/Reuters
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A child plays with a toy gun in a kindergarten at Jangchon Vegetable Co-op farm just outside PyongyangDamir Sagolj/Reuters
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Drawings are seen on the wall of the kindergarten at Jangchon Vegetable Co-op farmDamir Sagolj/Reuters

The congress is expected to last four or five days, South Korean government officials and experts said. Kim may decide to take on the post of party General Secretary, a position held by his late father, elevating himself from first secretary.