Analysts perplexed by political moves in North

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Analysts perplexed by political moves in North

Delegates of North Korea’s Supreme People’s Assembly convened as scheduled on Thursday, but there was no grand promotion of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il’s son at the meeting.

Many analysts and South Korean officials had believed the meeting would have been a venue to further solidify Kim Jong-un’s position as the successor to his father.

The third son of Kim Jong-il was a no-show, as his presence was not reported in North Korea’s official news agency or the official broadcaster’s late evening news, which carried word of the meeting in Pyongyang. Kim Jong-il also was not seen at the convention, in line with his regular pattern of showing up for the parliament session on a biannual basis. Kim Jong-il attended last year’s parliament convention.

The possibility of their absence was mentioned on Thursday, as the Korean Central News Agency said that day that both father and son were away on a field guidance trip in Kanggye.

Several experts in South Korea have said that more promotions for Kim Jong-un may be kept off until later, as it is likely that Kim Jong-il will hold onto power until his death. The meetings are usually held once or twice a year to rubber-stamp bills vetted by the North’s powerful Workers’ Party and are closely observed by those outside North Korea for clues on its economy or meaningful personnel changes.

Thursday’s session emphasized growth in North Korea’s industry and farming, including “great results from science technology” said Premier Choe Yong-rim cited by KCNA.

Choe had announced that a new steel factory and hydropower stations had been built and that North Korea’s coal industry had seen a boost. More progress was called for grain and coal production as well as light industry.

North Korea has been pushing industrial efforts to match its goal set for next year to become a “strong and prosperous nation.”

Deputy Premier and Finance Minister Pak Su-gil was quoted by KCNA as saying that North Korea had recorded a budget surplus of $70 million last year. Its budget expenditures were at $5.13 billion while the North’s income last year was $5.2 billion, said Pak.

The deputy premier said that 15.8 percent of the annual budget, or $810 million, had been spent on national defense and promised “huge funds” for the development of industry and agriculture.


By Christine Kim [christine.kim@joongang.co.kr]


한글 관련 기사 [연합]

北최고인민회의, 김정은 언급없이 마쳐

김정일 부자 불참…인민보안부장에 리명수
내각 일부 교체, 국방예산비율 작년과 동일

북한은 7일 평양 만수대의사당에서 최고인민회의 제12기 4차회의를 열었지만 후계자 김정은에 대한 아무런 언급 없이 회의를 마쳤다.

이날 회의에서는 주상성 전 부장의 해임으로 공석인 인민보안부장에 리명수 국방위원회 행정국장을 선임했다고 조선중앙통신 등 북한 매체들이 전했다.

이번 회의에는 김영남 최고인민회의 상임위원장, 최영림 내각총리 등이 참석했으나 자강도에서 공장 현지지도와 예술공연 관람을 한 것으로 전날 보도된 김정일 국방위원장과 김정은은 불참한 것으로 확인됐다.

정부 당국자는 "김정은의 국방위 진출이 이뤄지지 않은 것은 김 위원장의 건강이 후계승계를 다급하게 추진하지 않아도 될 만큼 급박한 상황은 아니라는 것을 의미한다"며 "앞으로 상황에 따라 최고인민회의 추가 개최, 국방위원회 별도 결정 등을 통해 보직을 부여할 수 있을 것"이라고 말했다.

리명수 신임 인민보안부장은 김정일 체제가 출범한 1996년부터 김 위원장의 각급 공식활동을 수행해온 최측근 실세로, 국가안전보위부와 함께 북한의 양대 공안기관인 인민보안부를 이끌며 김정은 후계체제 구축과정에서 핵심 역할을 할 것으로 보인다.

회의에서는 또 북한 군수산업을 전담해온 전병호 국방위원을 해임하고 후임 위원에 박도춘 당 비서를 선임했으며, 리태남 부총리를 `신병관계`를 이유로 해임하고 법제위원회 위원장에 장병규 최고검찰소장을 앉혔다.

박수길 부총리 겸 재정상은 예결산 보고에서 "지난해 국가예산수입이 101.3%로 초과 수행됐고 국가예산지출은 99.9%로 집행됐다. 올해는 지난해에 비해 국가예산수입은 107.5%, 국가예산지출은 108.9%로 늘리게 된다"고 밝혔다.

국방비는 작년과 같은 15.8%로 책정하고 주요 예산지출 부문이 작년과 비슷한 가운데 기본건설 자금지출 항목이 새로 추가됐다.

통일부는 북한의 올해 예산을 5천677억원(미화 57억3천만달러)으로, 국방비는 879억원(9억달러)으로 추산했다.

최영림 내각 총리는 올해 과업 보고에서 주민생활 향상을 위해 경공업과 농업 발전에 주력할 것임을 밝히고 무역의 다각화를 강조했다.

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