N Korean Parliament to convene for Kim’s agenda

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA (AP) — North Korea’s Parliament was scheduled to convene yesterday to pass decisions made by a major ruling party meeting where leader Kim Jong-un vowed maximum efforts to expand his nuclear weapons programme in face of what he described as United States (US) hostility.

The North’s official Korean Central News Agency said deputies led by Supreme People’s Assembly’s presidium President and senior official Choe Ryong-hae laid flowers at the statues of Kim’s grandfather and father, the North’s previous rulers, at Pyongyang’s Mansu Hill on Saturday as they prepared for the parliamentary session.

They bowed and pledged to “fulfill their responsibility and duty” to carry out the decisions made during the eight-day Workers’ Party congress that ended on Tuesday, the agency said.

Meetings of the Supreme People’s Assembly are usually brief, annual affairs that are intended to approve budgets, formalise personnel changes and policy priorities set by Kim and the ruling party leadership.

State media did not immediately release details from the current session, which could also approve reshuffles within the North’s Cabinet and State Affairs Commission, the government’s highest decision-making body led by Kim.

During the party congress, Kim called for accelerated efforts to build a military arsenal that could viably target US allies in Asia and the American homeland. He announced an extensive wish-list of new sophisticated assets, including longer-range intercontinental ballistic missiles, nuclear-powered submarines, spy satellites and tactical nuclear weapons.

North Korean soldiers march in formation during a military parade at Kim Il-sung Square in Pyongyang, North Korea. PHOTO: AP