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N. Korea to hold parliamentary session on April 13: KCNA

March 24, 2012 - 11:46 By

North Korea will hold a session of its primary legislative body on April 13, the communist state’s news agency said Saturday.

The Korea Central News Agency said the Standing Committee of the Supreme People’s Assembly Thursday decided to hold the fifth session of the 12th Supreme People’s Assembly in Pyongyang on April 13.

It is the first time Pyongyang holds the assembly’s session since the Dec. 17 death of its long-time leader Kim Jong-il.

The announcement came as the North plans to put a satellite into orbit by launching a long-range missile between April 12 and 16 in celebration of the 100th year of its late founder Kim Il-sung’s birth, despite international condemnation.

The assembly’s major functions include adopting, amending or supplementing enactments to the constitution, setting state policy and budgets and electing the chairman, vice-chairman and members of the National Defence Commission.

At the upcoming assembly, it remains to be seen whether Pyongyang will name new leader Kim Jong-un, currently Vice Chairman of the Central Military Commission, as Chairman of the National Defence Commission, observers said.

The late Kim was named the Chairman of the National Defence Commission at the fifth session of the 9th Supreme People’s Assembly in April 1993.

Professor Yang Moo-jin of the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul was quoted by AFP as saying that “the rocket launch and parliamentary and party meetings are all part of the North's plan to usher in a new era under Jong-un.”

“It will declare it has become 'a strong and prosperous state' on the 100th anniversary,” he said.

World leaders including US President Barack Obama are meeting in Seoul on Monday for the Seoul Nuclear Security Summit, officially focused on nuclear terrorism.

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said he plans to raise the rocket launch on the sidelines of the two-day meeting in Seoul.

By Kim Yoon-mi