North Korea holds parliamentary session after ruling party congress

Seoul, Jan 17 (efe-epa).- North Korea on Sunday started a session of the Supreme People’s Assembly, the country’s de-facto parliament, to discuss the decisions made at the congress of its ruling Workers’ Party, state media reported.

The congress of the Workers’ Party in the single-party state concluded on Tuesday.

The 687 members of the People’s Assembly usually hold an annual session in March or April to approve budgets or cabinet appointments although this time it has been brought forward coinciding with the same week in which the eighth congress of the Workers’ Party concluded.

The Supreme People’s Assembly’s president Choe Ryong-hae, considered number two in the regime, and other deputies laid flowers at the statues of former leaders, Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il, at Pyongyang’s Mansu Hill on Saturday as they prepared for the parliamentary session, state owned KCNA agency reported Sunday.

The parliamentary session is expected to ratify the decisions taken at the congress, including the appointment of leader Kim Jong-un as general secretary of the Workers’ Party, a position previously held by his father and grandfather, reinforcing his position at the helm of the regime.

The congress also decided on other changes in the organization of the regime’s leadership, including the appointment of Jo Yong-won, considered a close aide to Kim, as one of five members of the presidium of the political bureau, the party’s main decision-making body.

During the parliamentary session, Jo is also expected to be appointed a member of the State Affairs Commission, another important body in the regime.

At the congress, Kim’s sister Kim Yo-jong was not included on the list of members or as an alternate member of the party’s politburo, where she was included for the first time in 2017.

It remains to be seen if she will be listed as a member of the State Affairs Commission, which would shed light on whether she has lost status in the regime’s power setup.

In recent years, she has been seen accompanying her brother in many important meetings and functions, including the summits with outgoing United States president Donald Trump.

During the parliamentary session, in which Kim Jong-un is not expected to participate, the country’s defense budget is also expected to be approved, after the leader reiterated before the congress his intention to further develop its weapons systems to deter Washington. EFE-EPA


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