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N. Korea scheduled to hold key parliamentary meeting following Kim-Putin summit

Sept. 26, 2023 - 11:31 By Yonhap
This photo on Sept. 22, shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (center) presiding over a politburo meeting of the Central Committee of the ruling Workers' Party of Korea to discuss the outcome of his latest summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin. (KCNA)

North Korea is scheduled to convene a key parliamentary meeting Tuesday amid keen attention over whether its leader Kim Jong-un will attend it to deliver any message related to his latest summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

North Korea earlier announced its plan to hold the ninth session of the 14th Supreme People's Assembly on Tuesday to discuss organizational matters and the issue of reviewing and adopting various laws.

The secretive regime's state media has not reported whether the meeting has kicked off. The results of the session will likely be made public a day after the session wraps up.

The SPA is the highest organ of state power under the North's constitution, but it actually only rubber-stamps decisions by the ruling Workers' Party of Korea.

One of the major focal points for the SPA session would be whether Kim will use the session to deliver a public speech toward South Korea or the United States following his latest summit with Putin.

Kim and Putin held the summit at a Russian spaceport on Sept. 13, raising speculation North Korea may have reached a deal to supply ammunition for Russia's war in Ukraine in exchange for food aid and the transfer of weapons technology.

After returning home last week, Kim held a politburo meeting with top officials last week to discuss the outcome of his summit with Putin and called for unspecified "thorough" follow-up measures.

Whether Premier Kim Tok-hun could be replaced will be also one of the main issues that will likely be decided at the SPA.

The North's leader recently strongly berated Premier Kim and the Cabinet over their "irresponsible" attitude in failing to prevent flood damage and "spoiling" the country's economic plans.

His sharp-worded comments fueled speculation that he may replace the premier, a move seen as aiming at shifting responsibility to the Cabinet for the faltering economy. Premier Kim was appointed to the post in 2020.

Still, he has been carrying out his official duty as premier, as state media reported Monday that Kim has inspected the agricultural sector in South Hwanghae Province.

An official at South Korea's unification ministry said it is hard to prejudge what the SPA could discuss, including the possibility of Kim Jong-un delivering a public speech.

In a parliamentary meeting in September 2022, the North's leader publicly announced the legalization of nuclear weapons, as its parliament approved a new law that allows for a preemptive nuclear strike. (Yonhap)