N. Korean parliament convenes to follow up on party congress

AP News
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Posted: Jun 29, 2016 11:50 AM
N. Korean parliament convenes to follow up on party congress

PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) — North Korea convened a meeting of its national parliament on Wednesday to bestow yet another title on leader Kim Jong Un and follow up on the first congress of its ruling Workers' Party in 36 years, which was held last month.

The Supreme People's Assembly, which is the legislative branch of the North Korean government, was convened in Pyongyang. It was not immediately known how long the assembly's meetings would last, though sessions normally only take a few days.

State media showed Kim Yong Nam, president of the Presidium of the assembly, proposing it name Kim Jong Un chairman of the new State Affairs Commission, which he called "the top position in our country."

The party congress, which also gave Kim a new title, was a major political forum during which Kim vowed to continue developing nuclear weapons while also strengthening the country's economy.

The assembly's last full meeting was in April last year, but a smaller session was held in late March this year prior to the party congress.

Although the full assembly, made up of hundreds of deputies from around the country, is technically the highest organ of government, its function is primarily to endorse decisions passed down to it by the party and military leadership, rather than formulate and propose legislation of its own.

About 600 delegates are believed to have gathered for the assembly Wednesday.

The assembly is expected to approve and follow up on decisions made at last month's party congress.

Shortly after the congress ended, the government announced the start of a 200-day "loyalty campaign" calling on all North Koreans to make an extra effort to boost production, speed up construction projects and generally work harder and longer to show their support for the party and the leadership.

The assembly meeting could shed more light on how Kim Jong Un intends to bolster North Korea's struggling economy. Kim announced a new five-year development plan at the congress, but few details have been made public.