North Korean Assembly ratifies structural changes adopted in congress

Seoul, Jan 18 (efe-epa).- The Supreme People’s Assembly of North Korea, the country’s de facto parliament, unanimously approved a five-year economic plan and structural changes decided at its recent congress, state media reported Monday.

In the session held Sunday, parliament addressed and approved the decisions taken at the VIII Congress of the Workers’ Party, which ended Tuesday after eight days, including new appointments and the state budget for 2021, state agency KCNA reported.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un did not participate in the session.

In addition to addressing these issues, the Supreme People’s Assembly carried out a reorganization of the members of its cabinet in charge of economic affairs, to strengthen this front.

At the congress, Kim presented a five-year economic development plan focused on self-sufficiency in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic and international sanctions that weigh on North Korea, fervently calling for its implementation.

Despite the economic cabinet restructuring, there was no reorganization in the State Affairs Commission, the highest decision-making body in North Korea headed by Kim.

It was expected that in the parliamentary session, officials promoted in congress would be appointed as members of the body, one of the most relevant at the top of the regime.

Among them is Jo Yong-won, a close associate of Kim. At the congress he was appointed one of the five members of the presidium of the political bureau, the party’s main decision-making body, and it was expected that he would become part of the commission.

The session was also expected to shed light on the future of the leader’s sister, Kim Yo-jong, who was not included in the list of alternate members of the party’s political bureau (where she was included for the first time in 2017), however this went unmentioned by KCNA.

Although Kim did not attend the parliamentary session, other important figures did, such as Choe Ryong-hae, considered number two in the regime and president of the council at the head of the People’s Assembly. Also there was Ri Pyong-chol, vice chairman of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party and a key figure in the North Korean arms program.

The North Korean People’s Assembly usually meets in an annual session to approve budgets or cabinet appointments, which normally takes place in March or April, although this time the appointment has been brought forward to the same week as the congress. EFE-EPA


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