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Seoul says N.K. parliamentary session will be 'good opportunity' for it to announce policy direction

All News 12:02 August 26, 2019

SEOUL, Aug. 26 (Yonhap) -- The unification ministry said Monday that this week's meeting of North Korea's rubber-stamp parliament will be a "good opportunity" for it to announce Pyongyang's policy direction, vowing to keep a close eye on the event.

The 14th Supreme People's Assembly (SPA) will meet in Pyongyang on Thursday, according to the North's state media, which will be the second time the legislature will have met after 687 new deputies were elected in nationwide polls in March.

"I think North Korea's SPA meeting is a good opportunity for it to announce inside and out its policy direction or an evaluation on the businesses it has carried out," ministry spokesperson Lee Sang-min told a regular briefing.

"In the past SPA session, North Korea has sent an external message regarding the North-U.S. relations," he said. "We will keep a close watch on the meeting considering these past situations."

The SPA is the highest organ of state power under the constitution, but it actually rubber-stamps decisions by the ruling Workers' Party of Korea. It usually holds a plenary session in March or April to mainly deal with the budget and cabinet reshuffles.

During this year's first session 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. Kim also delivered a key policy speech during the session.

It is rather rare for the North to hold a parliamentary meeting twice a year. Since Kim took office in late 2011, the North has held the SPA session twice a year on two occasions, in 2012 and 2014.

In this file photo, released by the Korean Central News Agency on April 12, 2019, the first session of the 14th Supreme People's Assembly, North Korea's parliament, takes place in Pyongyang the previous day. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was reelected as chairman of the country's top decision-making body, the State Affairs Commission, at the meeting. (For Use Only in the Republic of Korea. No Redistribution) (Yonhap)


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