SEOUL, March 24: North Korea said on Saturday it would hold an annual parliamentary session next month around the time of a planned rocket launch by the nuclear-armed state that has sparked widespread condemnation.
The meeting of the rubber-stamp body will also take place just two days before deceased founder Kim Il-Sung’s 100th birthday and will be the first under new leader Kim Jong-Un.
Pyongyang’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said the Supreme People’s Assembly (SPA) would convene on April 13.
The assembly is constitutionally able to appoint the chairman of the National Defence Commission (NDC), a top military decision-making body wielding great influence over the highly militarised communist state.
The parliament will likely promote Jong-Un, currently vice chairman of the commission, to the NDC’s highest post, which was held by his father and the country’s ex-leader Kim Jong-Il, who died in December from a heart attack, analysts said.
Separately, the North’s ruling communist party said last month it would convene a rare special conference in April on an unspecified date in an apparent attempt to wrap up the power transfer to the new leader.
The party meeting is likely to appoint Jong-Un to his father’s old posts of party general secretary and chief of its Central Military Commission, analysts said.
Jong-Un has been proclaimed the “great successor” but has so far been formally appointed to only one of the late Kim’s posts, commander-in-chief of the 1.2 million-strong military.
North Korea announced earlier this month it would launch a rocket between April 12-16 to put a satellite into orbit to celebrate the centenary of Kim Il-Sung’s birth.
The move has been condemned by the United States, South Korea and other nations as a pretext for a long-range missile test banned by the UN.—AFP