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North Korea to hold plenary meeting of party central committee on Friday

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un presides over a military parade held in Pyongyang to mark the 105th birthday of late founder Kim Il-sung on April 15, 2017. (Yonhap News/Newscom/Zuma Press/TNS)

North Korea will hold a plenary session of its ruling party’s central committee on Friday, the country’s state media said Thursday, ahead of its planned summits with South Korea and the United States.

The Workers’ Party of Korea meeting which will be convened Friday will “discuss and decide the policy issues of a new stage in line with the demand of the important historic period of the developing Korean revolution,” the North’s Korean Central News Agency said.

The policy issues were not specified in the report.

North Korea in recent years has announced new party policy lines and personnel reshuffles through the plenary meeting attended by the central committee‘s members and alternate members. Before Kim Jong-un rose to power in late 2011, the country’s military was viewed as the core decision-making group.

The ”byongjin“ policy, which is North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s strategy of parallel development of nuclear weapons and the economy was first adopted at the WPK‘s plenary session held March 2013.

At a session held in October 2017, Kim reaffirmed his commitment to the policy vowing to continue “to see through the party’s two-track course and gloriously completing the historic effort of building national nuclear armaments.”

Experts say that the US-North Korea summit and its economic policy are likely to be the issues of the meeting, while denuclearization will remain a sensitive subject. Pyongyang has been weaving a plan that could convince its people of its “new ties” with the US and the plan is complete, they say.

“With a noteworthy outcome from (US CIA Director) Mike Pompeo’s recent visit to North Korea coupled with Trump’s ‘reaction’ and a shift in relations with the US…what they needed was a logic and legitimacy (for the new tie) they could tell its people,” Kim Dong-yup, a professor at Kyungnam University‘s Far East Institute said.

A week earlier, the North Korean leader chaired the WPK’s politburo meeting, where his vision for the party‘s international relations policy was discussed ahead of his summits with Moon and Trump. Exactly what his visions were remain unknown, but Kim said that Friday‘s session will delve a step further into the ”vision.”

“The key of the logic is probably the economy — they will claim that in order to achieve its goal as a strong and prosperous nation, the country will not be able to avoid an improvement in ties with the US,” Kim added. He also noted that denuclearization will not be directly mentioned, but may be hinted at in Kim’s speech as the North’s nuclear program could be an obstacle in becoming recognized by the international community as a normal state.

Kim Jong-un is scheduled to meet with South Korean President Moon Jae-in next Friday at the truce village of Panmunjeom, followed by a summit with US President Donald Trump probably in May or early June.

Trump said discussions are under way to set the date and venue, adding that the two sides are also in negotiations on the release of the three American citizens held captive in the North.


© 2018 the Asia News Network (Hamburg, Germany)

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