N.Korean Parliament to Meet Next Month

      March 21, 2011 07:44

      North Korea's Supreme People's Assembly meets on April 7, the official [North] Korean Central News Agency reported Friday, in what observers believe will provide another boost to leader Kim Jong-il's son and heir Jong-un.

      The rubberstamp parliament meets only once or twice each year and approves senior members of the National Defense Commission, the top decision-making body, and the Cabinet.

      Kim Jong-un has already been appointed vice chairman of the commission, and the SPA is expected to approve the appointment.

      "Kim Jong-un will need the title if he is to visit China as his father's heir and meet Xi Jinping," who is widely tipped as the next Chinese president, a Unification Ministry official speculated.

      It is widely expected that on the approval Kim junior will take the position of first vice chairman, which has been vacant since Jo Myong-rok died last year.

      Close associates of the younger Kim are also likely to be appointed to senior posts, including the succession of Ju Sang-song, who was abruptly fired as minister of people's security recently, according to a South Korean security official.

      But others expect the regime to put the brakes on the handover process for the time being to avoid a power vacuum.

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