SEOUL/BEIJING – North Korea’s top leaders are to meet in the coming days to decide on an unspecified “important” issue, official media said Wednesday, as tensions simmer on the Korean Peninsula.
The Political Bureau of the Communist Party’s Central Committee will convene its plenary meeting before the end of March to “discuss and decide an important issue for victoriously advancing the Korean revolution”, the Korean Central News Agency said.
It will be the first time that the party has convened such a meeting since September 2010. KCNA did not specify the date for the meeting, which will also reportedly make a “drastic turn” in accomplishing the North’s Juche (self-reliance) revolutionary cause.
“They will discuss how to handle the nuclear issue, inter-Korean relations and North Korea’s long-standing demand for a peace treaty with the United States,” Professor Yang Moo Jin of the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul said.
Yang said Jang Song Thaek, uncle of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, could be appointed as prime minister with the task of resuscitating the country’s struggling socialist economy.
There could also be changes in the makeup of the powerful Presidium of the Political Bureau.
Vice Marshal Hyon Yong Chol, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, could join the body, which would further strengthen the military’s say over key state affairs, Yang said.
Angered by U.N. sanctions imposed after its third nuclear test in February, Pyongyang has issued a wave of threats over the past month — ranging from a surgical military strike to nuclear war.
In the latest sign of tensions, a South Korean soldier standing on guard at the inter-Korean border threw a grenade toward a moving object in the dark early Wednesday, sparking a short-lived alarm, the Defense Ministry said.