News / Asia

North Korea's Parliamentary Move Fuels Speculation

In this Oct. 10, 2010 file photo, Kim Jong Un attends a massive military parade marking the 65th anniversary of the ruling Workers' Party in Pyongyang.In this Oct. 10, 2010 file photo, Kim Jong Un attends a massive military parade marking the 65th anniversary of the ruling Workers' Party in Pyongyang.
x
In this Oct. 10, 2010 file photo, Kim Jong Un attends a massive military parade marking the 65th anniversary of the ruling Workers' Party in Pyongyang.
In this Oct. 10, 2010 file photo, Kim Jong Un attends a massive military parade marking the 65th anniversary of the ruling Workers' Party in Pyongyang.
North Korea has announced that its legislature is to meet again this month. There is considerable speculation in South Korea about the unusual reconvening of what is seen as the rubber-stamp parliament in Pyongyang.

The announcement from North Korea's legislative authority came early Wednesday. A DPRK radio announcer said deputies of the Supreme People's Assembly are on notice to convene in Pyongyang on September 25 and to register there one or two days beforehand.

In Seoul, Unification Ministry spokeswoman Park Soo-jin says while the re-convening of North Korea's rubber-stamp parliament twice in one year is unusual, it is not unprecedented.

Park says there are two previous cases of the deputies meeting twice in the same year, most recently in 2010.

The assembly also met twice in 2003. In some years under the previous leader, Kim Jong Il, it did not meet at all.

In parliament's April session this year, Kim Jong Un was formally elected “first chairman” of the national defense commission, effectively securing his stature as the country's top leader.

The assembly also named the late Kim Jong Il, the father of the current leader, as the defense commission's “eternal chairman.”

South Korea's publicly-funded Yonhap news agency says it is highly likely this month's session of the North Korean legislature will announce new policies or unveil a shuffling of  the Cabinet or other organs of state.

There is also speculation the legislators will sign into law a modified economic management policy which emerged in late June and is due to be implemented from next month. The new policy, most significantly, is designed to partly end rationing.

South Korean professor Yang Moo-jin at the University of North Korean Studies says he expects the September 25 session in Pyongyang will focus on economic policy changes.

Yang says the session is designed to demonstrate the stabilization of the Kim Jong Un regime and show determination to legally implement his plan for economic development as the new leader is emphasizing improving the lives of North Korean citizens.

Intelligence analysts say a process is underway to strip North Korea's military of its control over major economic policies and place them under the Cabinet.

A currency reform attempt amid rampant inflation three years ago failed.

The impoverished state with few significant friends abroad, aside from China, continues to face dire challenges as one of the world's most centrally planned and closed economies. North Korea's gross domestic product is only three percent of South Korea's GDP.

And now there is renewed concern among some international aid agencies about a worsening food situation in the North after a long dry spell which was followed by recent damaging floods.

Steve Herman

A veteran journalist, Steven L Herman is the Voice of America Asia correspondent.

You May Like

Scotland Vote Raises Questions of International Law

Experts say self-determination, as defined and protected by international law, confined narrowly to independence movements in process of de-colonization More

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

Conservationists hail ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015 More

Annual Military Exercise Takes on New Meaning for Ukraine Troops

Troops from 15 nations participating in annual event, 'Rapid Trident' in western Ukraine More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctionsi
X
September 18, 2014 2:28 AM
A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid