Seoul – North Korea’s rubber-stamp parliament will hold its next session in late January, state media said Saturday — likely meaning it will convene shortly after U.S. President-elect Joe Biden takes office.
The hermit state’s legislative body meets only once or twice a year, mostly for daylong sessions to approve budgets or other decisions deemed necessary by the ruling Workers’ Party.
“The 4th Session of the 14th Supreme People’s Assembly (SPA) of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea will be convened in Pyongyang late in January,” the official Korean Central News Agency said.
It gave no other details, including the session’s agenda. Such meetings are carefully monitored by observers for any changes to economic policy or a reshuffle of high-ranking officials.
At the last meeting of the Supreme People’s Assembly in April of this year, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un carried out a major reshuffle of his State Affairs Commission.
Under Kim, the North has made rapid progress on its nuclear arsenal, launching missiles capable of reaching the whole of the U.S. mainland, and has been subject to increasingly stringent U.N. Security Council sanctions as a result.
Talks with the U.S. have been largely deadlocked since the collapse of last year’s summit in Hanoi between Kim and U.S. President Donald Trump over sanctions relief and what the North would be willing to give up in exchange.
Biden has characterized Kim — whose summits with Trump yielded few tangible results — as a “thug”, so analysts are not expecting any quick breakthroughs under the veteran Democrat.
Biden is set to take office on Jan. 20, 2021.
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