North Korea’s rubber-stamp parliament will hold its second meeting of this year Thursday amid stalled denuclearization talks.
The Supreme People’s Assembly revises the North’s constitution and laws. It also sets basic policy principles, makes major personnel appointments and approves budget plans.
As it is rare for the assembly to be held twice a year, attention is on what decisions will be made Thursday. The meeting comes after South Korea-US military drills, which Pyongyang has blamed for the delay in denuclearization negotiations.
During the previous meeting in April, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was reelected as chairman of the State Affairs Commission, the communist state’s highest seat of power. He also delivered a key policy speech.
In addition, reshuffles of the SAC, the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly and the Cabinet took place.
Observers speculate that Pyongyang may make policy announcements related to its nuclear program or relations with the US and South Korea at the assembly.
The session may also cover legislation dealing with prolonged sanctions and the completion of Kim’s five-year economic development project, which ends next year.
The assembly is usually held once a year in March or April. After Kim became the country’s leader in late 2011, it was held twice a year in 2012 and 2014. This is the first time the session is being held in August. In 2012 and 2014, the meetings were convened in April and September.
“I think North Korea’s SPA meeting is a good opportunity for it to announce its policy direction or an evaluation on the business it has carried out,” the South’s Unification Ministry spokesperson Lee Sang-min told a regular briefing Monday.
“In past SPA sessions, North Korea has sent an external message regarding North-US relations.”
By Kim So-hyun (email@example.com