North’s assembly meets to approve succession steps

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North’s assembly meets to approve succession steps

Delegates to North Korea’s rubber-stamp parliament gathered in Pyongyang yesterday for the country’s first parliamentary session of the year, as the world watches for leader Kim Jong-il’s next move in his attempt to make his son, Jong-un, his successor.

According to North Korea’s state-run Korean Central News Agency, delegates from around the country began arriving in Pyongyang early this week for the opening of the Supreme People’s Assembly, which was expected to be held yesterday.

The results of the assembly’s one-day session was expected to be reported by KCNA last night.

Analysts said the fourth session of the 12th Supreme People’s Assembly would likely make official the appointment of Kim Jong-un as a vice chairman of the National Defense Commission.

If he is named first vice chairman of the commission, it would make him the second-most powerful person in the country.

In February, the country’s military and intelligence chiefs recommended Kim as a vice chairman of the commission, the country’s top decision-making body, which is chaired by his father.

Jong-un, the youngest of Kim Jong-il’s three sons, emerged from obscurity last year as heir apparent to his father, whose health is reportedly deteriorating.

In September, Kim Jong-un, believed to be 27 or 28, was made a general and vice chairman of the ruling Workers’ Party’s Central Military Commission.

Analysts speculated that the assembly session could also approve a personnel reshuffle in the government to solidify Jong-un’s standing and power base.

The North is moving relatively younger figures, mostly in their 60s, into important positions in the party.

A replacement for Ju Sang-song, the recently dismissed head of North Korea’s security apparatus, could be announced during the session, analysts said.

The North convenes a one-day Supreme People’s Assembly session once or twice every year to vote on new or revised laws. Last year, the assembly was held twice, once in April and again in June.

The assembly also rubber stamps the budget for the year and reshuffles state organizations.

Another possible focus for the assembly session is whether the impoverished country will pass bills designed to attract more foreign investment in its Rason free trade zone.

The JoongAng Ilbo reported in January that a Chinese state-run company agreed to invest $2 billion in the area.


By Moon Gwang-lip [joe@joongang.co.kr]


한글 관련 기사 [연합]

‘북한 정기국회’ 최고인민회의 개막

김정일 부자는 자강도서 현지지도·공연관람

우리의 정기국회 격인 북한의 최고인민회의 제12기4차 회의가 7일 평양 만수대의사당에서 열린 것으로 보인다.

앞서 조선중앙통신은 전날 "김일성 동지께 최고인민회의 제12기 제4차 회의에 참가할 대의원들이 금수산기념궁전을 찾아 경의를 표시했다"고 전해 우리의 국회의원 격인 대의원들이 평양에 집결했음을 확인했다.

지난달 18일 중앙통신을 통해 발표된 최고인민회의 상임위원회 공시는 대의원들이 회의에 앞서 5일과 6일 양일간 등록을 마치도록 했다.

종전 관례에 비춰보면 회의는 최태복 최고인민회의 의장의 개회사로 시작돼 북한 정부의 작년 사업을 평가하고 올해 계획을 논의한 뒤 2011년 예산안을 논의했을 것으로 보인다.

이번 회의에서는 작년 당 대표자회에서 당 중앙군사위 부위원장에 오른 후계자 김정은이 국방위원회에 진출할지가 최대 관심거리다.

그러나 7일 오후 4시 현재 김정일 국방위원장의 회의 참석 여부는 확인되지 않고 있다.

북한 언론매체들은 김 위원장이 김정은과 함께 자강도에서 현지지도와 예술인 공연관람을 했다고 잇따라 보도해 김 위원장의 참석이 어렵고 김정은의 국방위원회 진출도 미뤄질 가능성이 있다.

전날 북한 매체들은 김 위원장이 김정은을 대동하고 자강도 제련소 및 압록강다이야(타이어)공장을 현지지도한 데 이어 자강도예술단의 공연을 관람했다고 전했다.

그동안 국방위 인사가 있었던 2003년 9월 제11기 1차 회의와 2007년 4월 제11기 5차 회의, 2009년 4월 제12기 1차 회의, 작년 4월 제12기 3차 회의 때는 김 위원장이 회의에 참석했다.

북한은 회의를 마치고 7일 밤 중앙통신과 조선중앙방송, 조선중앙TV 등을 통해 회의 내용과 결정된 사항을 주민들에게 전할 것으로 보인다.

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