Korea DPR to hold key parliamentary meeting next month

North Korea will convene a major parliamentary meeting next month, Pyongyang’s state media said Wednesday, amid lingering tensions sparked by the country’s nuclear and missile development programs.

The Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly decided to hold the fifth session of the country’s 13th assembly on April 11, the Korean Central News Agency said in a short dispatch.

The SPA, the country’s legislative body, is the highest organ of state power under the North’s constitution, but it actually rubber-stamps decisions by more powerful organizations, such as the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea.

North Korea holds the fourth session of the 13th Supreme People’s Assembly in Pyongyang. (For Use Only in the Republic of Korea. No Redistribution) (Yonhap)

The North’s last parliamentary meeting was held in June last year when North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was elected as the chairman of the newly created State Affairs Commission.

Every April, the SPA holds a plenary session, attended by hundreds of deputies, to finalize the country’s budget spending and overhaul Cabinet organs. But the North’s parliament held a smaller meeting led by its presidium in March last year ahead of the WPK’s party congress held in May.

The North’s leader was elected the chairman of the WPK in the party congress, a move aimed at reaffirming his one-man leadership.

The upcoming parliamentary session is timed to coincide with the fifth anniversary of Kim Jong-un becoming the first secretary of the WPK, his previous title of the party chief.

The current young leader has strengthened his power through a reign of terror since late 2011 when his father Kim Jong-il died of heart failure.

It is rare for the country’s assembly to make a decision on foreign policies at its key session, but in April 2012, it decided to state that North Korea is a nuclear state in the preface of the Constitution.

At the party congress, the North’s leader said that his country will “permanently” pursue his dual policy of developing nuclear weapons in tandem with boosting the country’s moribund economy, commonly known as the “byeongjin” policy.

“Usually, the SPA decides on the country’s budget spending in April,” said an official at Seoul’s unification ministry. “But the North’s leader may deliver a message, given that the upcoming event is its first assembly since US President Donald Trump took office.”

The United States is likely to unveil its new North Korea policy soon, which likely center on ramping up pressure on Pyongyang.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said last week that all options, including military action, are on the table in dealing with North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats.

North Korea has conducted five nuclear tests since 2006 and claimed it has entered the final stage of preparing to launch an intercontinental ballistic missile which would target the US mainland.

In April, North Korea is set to celebrate key anniversaries including the 105th birthday of late founder Kim Il-sung which falls on April 15. The Korean People’s Army marks the 85th anniversary of its creation on April 25.

“This year, North Korea could put priority on increasing budget spending on the light industry or agriculture, rather than the military as it anticipates South Korea’s political transition in May,” said Cheong Seong-chang, a senior research fellow at the Sejong Institute.

“But I think that there is a high possibility that Pyongyang could conduct large-scale provocative acts including another nuke test or the launch of an ICBM ahead of the founder’s birthday,” he added.

Lee Duk-haeng, spokesman at the Ministry of Unification, said that there is a need to watch North Korea’s behavior around the session due to speculation about its possible nuclear and missile provocations.

Analysts added that Pyongyang may conduct a reshuffle of members of the State Affairs Commission at the upcoming event to fill a vacancy following the dismissal of spy chief Kim Won-hong.

Kim was sacked from the post of minister of state security in mid-January after a probe by the ruling party found his agency had abused authority. He was among eight members of the newly created organ SAC.

The SAC replaced the National Defense Commission, which played a key role under the Kim Jong-il regime.

“As the Kim Jong-un regime appears to be relatively stable, the country would probably hold the assembly session in a celebrative mood (in the key year),” said Kim Keun-sik, a professor at Kyungnam University.

Other experts said that North Korea may unveil a set of economic measures that could include tax reforms or steps to spur operations of markets.

At last year’s party congress, the North’s leader laid out a five-year strategy for economic growth, but his vision did not contain details such as specific targets. (Yonhap)

 

Source : Yonhap News Agency

Korea DPR will qualify for ‘some events’ at 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea: official

Flag of North Korea.svg

SEOUL, March 3 (Yonhap) — North Korea will qualify for “some events” at the 2018 Winter Olympic Games to be held in South Korea, a Pyongyang sports official said Friday.

Chang Ung, the lone International Olympic Committee (IOC) member from North Korea, told the Choson Sinbo newspaper that athletes from his country will play their way into the Olympics in PyeongChang, Gangwon Province, next year.

The Chosun Sinbo — a newspaper of Chongryon, a Tokyo-based organization of pro-Pyongyang Korean residents in Japan — is not the North’s state media, but it serves as an unofficial mouthpiece for Pyongyang.

The PyeongChang event will be the first Winter Olympics to take place in South Korea.

Chang didn’t specify in which sports he thought North Korean athletes will earn their Olympic eligibility.

According to the Chosun Sinbo, Chang also said there would be several obstacles to the North-South co-hosting of the Olympics.

Chang did point out that sports could be a “catalyst” for reunification of the Koreas, “once the Koreas reach a point where improvements in relations will be desperately needed.”

While visiting Sapporo, Japan, for the Asian Winter Games last month, Chang had told the Japanese press that “there was no reason for us not to participate” in the PyeongChang Olympics.

PyeongChang organizers have said they will keep the doors open to North Korea. Lee Hee-beom, the chief organizer, had repeatedly said any peace-loving country has the right and obligation to take part in the Olympic Games, and that North Korea’s participation would be handled in accordance with international rules and customs.

jeeho@yna.co.kr

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Source : Yonhap News Agency

Korea DPR condemns China over comment on missile test and suspension of coal imports

Resultado de imagem para North Korea China

North Korea’s state media on Thursday made a rare criticism against China over Beijing’s condemnation of Pyongyang’s launch of a new ballistic missile and its decision to halt imports of North Korean coal.

The Korean Central News Agency said that a neighboring country which often claims itself to be a “friendly neighbor” is showing an unkind attitude towards North Korea, apparently referring to China.

It claimed that China downplayed the meaning of its test-fire of an intermediate ballistic missile on Feb. 12.

China’s Global Times carried an interview with a military expert who said that North Korea’s missile technology remains underdeveloped and China’s sanctions are working.

North Korea also condemned China’s latest decision to suspend imports of North Korean coal, calling the move “inhumane steps” that would hurt the livelihood of North Koreans.

China’s commerce ministry said Saturday it will halt the imports of North Korean coal in line with the United Nations Security Council’s sanctions against Pyongyang. The decision will be valid through the end of this year.

“It has unhesitatingly taken inhumane steps such as totally blocking foreign trade related to the improvement of people’s living standards under the plea of the UN resolutions on sanctions devoid of legal grounds,” the KCNA said.

China is North Korea’s key economic benefactor and treaty ally, but their ties have frayed following North Korea’s nuclear and missile tests.

North Korea said that China is “dancing to the tune of the U.S.,” referring to China’s implementation of the U.N. sanctions.

“(China) is defending its mean behavior with such excuses that it was meant not to have a negative impact on the living of North Koreans but to check its nuclear program,” the KCNA said. (Yonhap)

Source : The Korea Herald

Korea DPR shows continuing activity at nuclear test site: 38 North

Flag of North Korea.svg

WASHINGTON, Feb. 24 (Yonhap) — Satellite imagery shows continuing activity at North Korea’s nuclear test site in a sign that the communist nation keeps up preparation and maintenance of the facility for a new nuclear test, a website monitoring the North said Friday.

Commercial satellite imagery taken of the North’s Punggye-ri nuclear test site on Feb. 18 shows continued low-level activity at many locations within the installation, said 38 North, a website specializing on analysis on North Korea.

“In particular, the shifting of supplies and equipment as well as additional changes in the texture and pattern of small sections of the tailings pile at the North Portal indicate continuing work inside the test tunnels,” it said.

“These activities suggest continued preparation and maintenance of this portal for use in a new nuclear test. Should the decision be made to do so, North Korea could probably move forward with a nuclear test in short order but it remains unclear when such a test might take place,” 38 North said.

jschang@yna.co.kr

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Source : Yonhap News Agency

Korea DPR reruns documentary on defector’s father

N.K. reruns documentary on defector's father

This photo captured from a documentary aired on Aug. 21, 2016, on the North’s Korean Central TV shows O Peak-ryong (R), the father of the wife of a diplomat who recently defected to South Korea. The father, who died in 1984, has been repeatedly praised as a compatriot of North Korea’s founder Kim Il-sung who together engaged in guerrilla warfare against Japanese colonial forces. His daughter O Hye-son had defected to the South with her husband Thae Yong-ho, a minister at the North Korean Embassy in London, and their children. The documentary made no mention of her. (For Use Only in the Republic of Korea. No Redistribution) (Yonhap) (END)

 

Source : Yonhap News Agency

Korea DPR youth league pays tribute to former leaders

N.K. youth league pays tribute to former leaders

 

Participants of the ninth congress of North Korea’s Kim Il Sung Socialist Youth League pay tribute at the statues of the country’s late former leaders in Pyongyang on Aug. 23, 2016. In the runup to the congress, the state media lauded the young people of the country for contributing to the North’s economic power. (For Use Only in the Republic of Korea. No Redistribution) (KCNA-Yonhap) (END)

 

Source : Yonhap News Agency