N. Korea to hold first session of new parliament

By 박한나
  • Published : Apr 9, 2014 - 10:27
  • Updated : Apr 9, 2014 - 10:27
North Korea was to hold the first session of its newly elected rubber-stamp parliament on Wednesday, which analysts say could provide a glimpse into any change in the communist country's leadership.

The North's state media has yet to report whether the inaugural session of the 13th Supreme People's Assembly elected early last month has begun.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was elected to the legislature in uncontested nationwide elections along with 686 deputies, including those who were considered close to Kim's once-powerful uncle, Jang Song-thaek.

  The predetermined election results indicated that Kim is confident enough not to worry about any backlash from the execution of Jang in December on charges of treason.

On Wednesday, the North's parliament is expected to select Kim as the first chairman of the National Defense Commission, the North's most powerful body. It is also expected to name new commission members following the execution of Jang, a vice chairman of the commission.

Although the assembly is a rubber-stamp body, it is widely seen as a who's who of the government, the party and the military that form the backbone of the communist leadership.

The North's single-chamber legislature meets once or twice a year to approve government budgets and review important state policies.

The session is also closely watched by officials and analysts in South Korea and other regional powers as it comes after North Korea threatened to carry out a "new form" of nuclear test.

The North has a track record of carrying out nuclear tests within a month after its foreign ministry issues a statement in anger over a U.N. condemnation of its long-range missile or rocket launches.

On Tuesday, Kim set forth important tasks to further strengthen the party and protect the dignity and sovereignty of the country as he presided over a meeting of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party, the North's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported.

"The meeting discussed the issue of reinforcing the organization for increasing the leadership role and function of the Party," the KCNA said early Wednesday in a dispatch.

Participants also unanimously adopted decisions on the relevant agenda items after discussing a proposal on forming the state leadership body to be submitted to the parliamentary session, the dispatch said. (Yonhap)