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North Korea's parliament to meet ahead of summits with South Korea, U.S. Updated: 2018-04-11 18:00:34 KST


What messages could North Korea send to South Korea and the U.S. ahead of its summits with them?
With North Korea's rubber-stamp parliament set to hold the sixth session of its 13th Supreme People's Assembly on Wednesday. that question may just be answered.
The Supreme People's Assembly is the highest organ of state power under the North's Constitution that rubber-stamps decisions by the ruling Workers' Party.
Its plenary session -- held every April -- mainly deals with budget issues and personnel reshuffles.
However, this year's meeting is getting more attention, due to the possibility the isolated state may send a message to the outside world ahead of the summits, during what's usually an internal political event.
A local expert says the meeting could be used to back Kim Jong-un's willingness to improve ties with the South or even seek a peace regime and the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
The North has previously used its meetings to clarify its stance on its nuclear programs.
In particular, at a parliamentary meeting in April 2012, the North stipulated in the preamble of its Constitution that the country is a nuclear state.
In the following year, the Assembly adopted a law codifying its possession of nuclear weapons for self-defense, at the same time consolidating its status as a nuclear weapons state.
The meeting will also be highlighted by personnel reshuffles, as experts say the regime is likely to change officials at key posts of the State Affairs Commission, and other organs to reflect the latest changes in the makeup of cabinet and military officials.
Among the notable changes, North Korea may replace Kim Yong-nam, the 90-year-old president of SPA Presidium and the nominal head of state, in order to seek active diplomacy to improve relations with Seoul and Washington.
Meanwhile, according to the North's state-run media, Kim Jong-un has acknowledged the prospect of talks with Washington, in his first official mention of the planned summit with President Trump.
The Korean Central News Agency also said Kim delivered a report "on the development of the recent situation on the Korean Peninsula", which includes the inter-Korean summit on April 27th.
Observers hope the North's recent openness may be a prelude to finally achieving peace on the Korean Peninsula, as the world continues to watch the nation's every move.
Lee Seung-jae, Arirang News.
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