SEOUL (Reuters) – North Korea’s Supreme People’s Assembly, the isolated state’s rubber-stamp parliament, will hold a meeting on April 11, the North’s state media said yesterday, just weeks before an historic summit between North and South Korea.
The decision to hold the rare meeting, which will be the first this year, was made by the assembly’s presidium on March 15, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) report said without elaborating.
The North’s parliament usually serves to approve decisions on issues such as governing structures and budgets that have been created by the state’s powerful Workers’ Party, members of which form the vast majority of the assembly.
Next month’s assembly will come against a backdrop of diplomatic activity taking place to engage North Korea and as South Korean officials prepare for the inter-Korean summit later in April. The summit will precede a possible meeting between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un slated for the following month.
“The April assemblies are regular meetings where North Korea makes decisions on key state projects,” said Koh Yu-hwan, professor of North Korean studies at Dongguk University in Seoul.
“This time, we’re looking at inter-Korean summits and the US-North Korea summit, so there may be some measures or speeches linked to those but we’ll see.”
Mr Kim and Mr Trump are due to meet in May after South Korean officials relayed a message from Pyongyang that the North Korean leader wished to speak to Trump about denuclearisation.
The Supreme People’s Assembly convenes once or twice a year for day-long meetings. Its previous meeting was in April last year, when it announced the formation of a diplomatic commission aimed at improving international relations.