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Will Kim issue message at Supreme People’s Assembly again?

Will Kim issue message at Supreme People’s Assembly again?

Posted February. 07, 2022 07:58,   

Updated February. 07, 2022 07:58


North Korea convened the Supreme People’s Assembly, or the North Korean equivalent of the National Assembly, in Pyongyang on Sunday. Attention is focusing on whether North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will attend the meeting in person and issue a message to South Korea and the U.S. The North has test-fired missiles on seven occasions last month alone in a ‘relay show of force.’ Since the Stalinist country announces results of a meeting the following day, Pyongyang will likely disclose the results from the latest meeting on Monday.

According to the North’s Rodong Sinmun newspaper, Pyongyang decided to convene the sixth meeting of the 14th Supreme People’s Assembly this past Sunday during the general meeting of the standing committee under the Supreme People’s Assembly, which took place in December last year. The Supreme People’s Assembly is the North Korean equivalent of the South’s National Assembly. The latest meeting has been called by Pyongyang to approve the direction of the Workers’ Party and state projects that were decided at last year’s general meeting.

The matter of utmost interest surrounding the meeting is whether North Korean leader Kim Jong Un participated, and if so, whether he issued an external message. Kim is not a Supreme People’s Assembly member, but he would attend the meeting in person and issue messages previously. Kim delivered an administrative policy speech at the Supreme People’s Assembly to state that “I have intention to seek (a North Korea-U.S. meeting) at least once more” in April 2019 after the Washington-Pyongyang summit collapsed. At the Supreme People’s Assembly in September last year, he said, “We will reopen inter-Korean communication lines from early October,”

The South Korean government is keeping a close watch on the outcomes of the meeting, judging that if Kim issues a hardline-line message against South Korea, inter-Korean relations will deteriorate during the final days of the Moon Jae-in administration. At the North’s politburo meeting on Jan. 19, Kim ordered the government to completely reconsider measures meant to recover trust, and speedily develop a plan to resume all activities that have been temporarily suspended, while declaring the withdrawal of moratorium on nuclear and intercontinental ballistic missile tests.

Ji-Sun Choi aurinko@donga.com