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With North Korean leader Kim Jong-un set for his summits with the South Korean and American presidents in the coming weeks,… the regime’s rubber-stamp parliament is set to hold a key meeting on Wednesday.
Watchers expect the meeting to provide hints about the message North Korea wants to send during those summits.
Lee Seung-jae reports.
What messages could North Korea send to South Korea and the U.S. ahead of its summits with them?
With North Korea’s rubber-stamp parliament set to hold the sixth session of its 13th Supreme People’s Assembly on Wednesday…. that question may just be answered.
The Supreme People’s Assembly is the highest organ of state power under the North’s Constitution that rubber-stamps decisions by the ruling Workers’ Party.
Its plenary session — held every April — mainly deals with budget issues and personnel reshuffles.
However, this year’s meeting is getting more attention,… due to the possibility the isolated state may send a message to the outside world ahead of the summits,… during what’s usually an internal political event.
A local expert says the meeting could be used to back Kim Jong-un’s willingness to improve ties with the South or even seek a peace regime and the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
The North has previously used its meetings to clarify its stance on its nuclear programs.
In particular,… at a parliamentary meeting in April 2012,… the North stipulated in the preamble of its Constitution that the country is a nuclear state.
In the following year,… the Assembly adopted a law codifying its possession of nuclear weapons for self-defense,… at the same time consolidating its status as a nuclear weapons state.
The meeting will also be highlighted by personnel reshuffles,… as experts say the regime is likely to change officials at key posts of the State Affairs Commission,… and other organs to reflect the latest changes in the makeup of cabinet and military officials.
Among the notable changes,… North Korea may replace Kim Yong-nam, the 90-year-old president of SPA Presidium and the nominal head of state,… in order to seek active diplomacy to improve relations with Seoul and Washington.
Meanwhile, according to the North’s state-run media,… Kim Jong-un has acknowledged the prospect of talks with Washington,… in his first official mention of the planned summit with President Trump.
The Korean Central News Agency also said Kim delivered a report “on the development of the recent situation on the Korean Peninsula”,… which includes the inter-Korean summit on April 27th.
Observers hope the North’s recent openness may be a prelude to finally achieving peace on the Korean Peninsula,… as the world continues to watch the nation’s every move.
Lee Seung-jae, Arirang News.

North Koreas Military Capabilities 2017 – Capacidades Militares da Coreia do Norte – North Korea Military Power 2017\r
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The Korean Peoples Army (KPA: 조선인민군) constitutes the military force of North Korea and, under the Songun policy, the central institution of North Korean society. Kim Jong-un is the Supreme Commander of the Korean Peoples Army and Chairman of the Central Military Commission. The KPA defence force consists of five branches: Ground Force, the Navy, the Air Force, the Strategic Rocket Forces, and the Special Operation Force. The Worker-Peasant Red Guards also come under control of the KPA.\r
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Korean Peoples Army (Exército Popular Coreano)\r
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Korean Peoples Army Ground Force\r
Korean Peoples Navy\r
Korean Peoples Army Air Force\r
Korean Peoples Army Strategic Force\r
North Korean Special Operation Force\r
Worker-Peasant Red Guards\r
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Music: Supremacy Of Gods – GRÉGOIRE LOURME

And inside North Korea,… signs of possible shift within its power structure.
South Korea’s intelligence agency says Hwang Pyong-so , the head of the military’s General Political Bureau,… may no longer be the regime’s second most powerful man.
Oh Jung-hee with more.
The man who had been considered the second most powerful person in North Korea… appears to be so no longer.
South Korea’s National Intelligence Service said Monday at a parliamentary briefing… that Hwang Pyong-so, who was the director of General Political Bureau within the North Korean army,… has been dismissed — and is now receiving so-called ideological education.
The post is now occupied by Kim Jong-gak — former Vice Minister of the People’s Armed Forces.
According to the NIS,… several more others in the bureau including its vice chief… have also been dismissed or purged.

This… after the North’s ruling Workers’ Party of Korea held a rare inspection of the Bureau… for three months starting last October,… citing what it called the Bureau’s “impure attitude.”
The inspection was the first of its kind in 20 years.
Experts believe Hwang Pyong-so had been in a power struggle with Choe Ryong-hae,… the vice chairman of the ruling party’s central committee.

“Having Hwang ‘re-educated’ on the party’s ideology and making him write self-reflections can’t really be seen as purging him. There’s a high possibility he could be put back in power. I’d say that Hwang was temporarily pushed away in his fight for power with Choe.”

The regime’s leader Kim Jong-un has not engaged in any military activities yet this year.
His six public appearances so far — half the number at this point last year — were focused on visits to private facilities.
But the South Korean intelligence agency noted… that out of several underground tunnels at the North’s Punggye-ri nuclear test site,… Tunnel 3 is always ready for a nuclear test.
The agency is also keeping a close eye on the February 8th military parade… as it could reveal a wide variety of its missiles.

According to the NIS, the regime saw the largest trade deficit in its history in 2017… of almost 2 billion U.S. dollars due to UN sanctions.
It stole tens of millions of dollar worth virtual currency by hacking South Korea’s cryptocurrency exchanges… and launched cyber attacks against Seoul’s security agencies, defense firms and anti-Pyongyang organizations.
Oh Jung-hee, Arirang News.

And inside North Korea,… signs of possible shift within its power structure.
South Korea’s intelligence agency says Hwang Pyong-so , the head of the military’s General Political Bureau,… may no longer be the regime’s second most powerful man.
Oh Jung-hee with more.
The man who had been considered the second most powerful person in North Korea… appears to be so no longer.
South Korea’s National Intelligence Service said Monday at a parliamentary briefing… that Hwang Pyong-so, who was the director of General Political Bureau within the North Korean army,… has been dismissed — and is now receiving so-called ideological education.
The post is now occupied by Kim Jong-gak — former Vice Minister of the People’s Armed Forces.
According to the NIS,… several more others in the bureau including its vice chief… have also been dismissed or purged.

This… after the North’s ruling Workers’ Party of Korea held a rare inspection of the Bureau… for three months starting last October,… citing what it called the Bureau’s “impure attitude.”
The inspection was the first of its kind in 20 years.
Experts believe Hwang Pyong-so had been in a power struggle with Choe Ryong-hae,… the vice chairman of the ruling party’s central committee.

“Having Hwang ‘re-educated’ on the party’s ideology and making him write self-reflections can’t really be seen as purging him. There’s a high possibility he could be put back in power. I’d say that Hwang was temporarily pushed away in his fight for power with Choe.”

The regime’s leader Kim Jong-un has not engaged in any military activities yet this year.
His six public appearances so far — half the number at this point last year — were focused on visits to private facilities.
But the South Korean intelligence agency noted… that out of several underground tunnels at the North’s Punggye-ri nuclear test site,… Tunnel 3 is always ready for a nuclear test.
The agency is also keeping a close eye on the February 8th military parade… as it could reveal a wide variety of its missiles.

According to the NIS, the regime saw the largest trade deficit in its history in 2017… of almost 2 billion U.S. dollars due to UN sanctions.
It stole tens of millions of dollar worth virtual currency by hacking South Korea’s cryptocurrency exchanges… and launched cyber attacks against Seoul’s security agencies, defense firms and anti-Pyongyang organizations.
Oh Jung-hee, Arirang News.

Korea’s traditional martial arts Taek-kyon cf. not tae-kwon-do