The Korea Herald

지나쌤

N. Korea’s parliament to meet April 11: KCNA

By Jung Min-kyung

Published : March 22, 2018 - 09:33

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North Korea’s rubber-stamp parliament, the Supreme People’s Assembly, will hold a meeting on April 11, the country’s state-run Korean Central News Agency said Thursday.

The SPA is nominally the highest institution of state power in North Korea, but it actually rubber stamps decisions by the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea.

Such plenary sessions are held once or twice a year and involve daylong meetings that tackle a slew of diplomatic, political, and financial issues along with the option of a cabinet overhaul.

Although the assembly mostly focuses on national affairs, Pyongyang has used the sessions to vocalize or hint at its stance on its nuclear program and diplomacy in recent years. 

(Yonhap) (Yonhap)

North Korea officially added a clause about it being a nuclear state to its constitution during a parliamentary meeting in April 2012.

The following year, the SPA adopted a law on consolidating its position of a nuclear weapons state for self-defense.

At the assembly in April 2017, North Korea announced the revival of a diplomatic commission for the first time in 19 years to bolster diplomatic ties.

This year’s first session will take place shortly before South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s planned summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in the same month. Kim is also due to meet with US President Donald Trump, after Moon’s special envoys relayed the young North Korean leader’s willingness to talk to Trump about denuclearization.

Noting the session is an annual event, Seoul’s Unification Ministry said that this year’s assembly session is likely to be carried out on a similar level to that of previous years.

It is expected to focus on national issues such as assessments of the previous year’s projects, national budget and personnel changes, along with follow-up measures to “personnel reshuffle of the WPK’s central committee’s plenary session in October 2017,” the ministry said in a statement.

In October 2017, Kim Jong-un promoted his sister Kim Yo-jong to an alternate member of the North Korea’s Politburo, the top decision-making body, strengthening his family’s grip on the country. Kim Jong-sik and Ri Pyong-chol, two of the three men behind Kim Jong-un’s missile program, were also promoted, which experts saw as a sign of a major shift in the country’s political generation.

Experts say that a personnel reshuffle similar to last year will be announced to further consolidate the Kim family’s power in the regime.

“Through the assembly meeting, another personnel change may be announced to further solidify Kim Jong-un’s power in the government,” said Cheong Seong-chang, a senior research fellow at the Sejong Institute.

Experts also say that Kim Jong-un is likely to focus on improving the North’s diplomatic ties and is likely to refrain from mentioning its nuclear weapons program.

“North Korea is expected to announce its leader Kim Jong-un’s latest diplomatic policy toward South Korea and other nations for the improvement of inter-Korean ties and peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula,” said Yang Moo-jin, a professor at the University of North Korean Studies.

It has yet to be confirmed whether Kim Jong-un will be present at the meeting, as the KCNA did not confirm his attendance

By Jung Min-kyung (mkjung@heraldcorp.com)