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(LEAD) N. Korea replaces member of top state body in parliamentary meeting

All Headlines 22:33 April 09, 2015

(ATTN: UPDATES throughout with results of meeting; CHANGES headline)
By Kim You-jin and Lee Chi-dong

SEOUL, April 9 (Yonhap) -- North Korea on Thursday replaced a member of the powerful National Defense Commission (NDC) at a key parliamentary session, according to Pyongyang's media.

It also finalized this year's budget plan by setting defense spending at 15.9 percent, the same as the previous year, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said, briefing the outcome of the third session of the 13th Supreme People's Assembly (SPA) held in Pyongyang.

The North's leader did not attend the meeting, the fifth of its kind since he took power in late 2011.

The reason for his absence was not immediately confirmed, with a North Korean television broadcast having shown his right wrist injured.

A total of 645 deputies nationwide participated in the session, in which Kim Chun-sop, a Workers' Party secretary in charge of the border province of Jagang, was named new member of the 10-person NDC chaired by Kim Jong-un. The NDC is the top ruling organ of the communist nation.

He replaced Pak To-chun, a party official secretary overseeing the nation's missile and nuclear development.

During the parliamentary session, meanwhile, the North's Premier Pak Pong-ju stressed the need to resolve the food problem facing the country's people, the KCNA said.

He cited agriculture, stock-breeding and fisheries as three pillars, adding it's necessary to drastically increase power production, it added.

Pak reported some progress in the economy including a 28-percent increase in coal production last year and a 12-percent jump in cement production.


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