September 06, 2012 09:14
North Korea's Supreme People's Assembly convenes for the second time this year on Sept. 25, the state-run [North] Korean Central News Agency reported on Wednesday. It did not say what will be discussed. The first meeting took place in April.
The rubber-stamp parliament met twice a year in the days of nation founder Kim Il-sung but only once a year since Kim Jong-il officially took power in 1998, except in 2003 and 2010.
There is speculation that the National Defense Commission, the top decision-making body under Kim Jong-il, will be restructured to reflect recent changes, according to Ryu Dong-ryeol at the Police Science Institute. Former army chief Ri Yong-ho was purged in July by rival Choe Ryong-hae.
Perhaps Choe will be promoted to vice chairman of the NDC and old guards like vice chairmen Ri Yong-mu (87), O Kuk-ryol (82) and Kim Yong-chun (76) and NDC member Ju Kyu-chang (84) put on the scrap heap.
Any void could be filled by Kim Yong-chol, the head of the General Reconnaissance Bureau who is in charge of anti-South Korean operations, and new army chief Hyon Yong-chol.
Tentative economic and agricultural reforms also await a veneer of democratic approval, as do plans to develop the Hwanggumpyong and Rajin-Sonbong special zones together with China.
A South Korean government official said, "The North Koreans will pretend that they've accepted the advice Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao gave to [eminence grise] Jang Song-taek about the development of the special zones during his visit to China last month."
The SPA ceremonially approves reshuffles of senior personnel, outlines of major policies, economic development plans, and budgets.
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