N Korea convenes top-level meeting over 'tense situation' | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, April 11, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:06 AM, April 11, 2019

N Korea convenes top-level meeting over 'tense situation'

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un yesterday called a full meeting of a top committee of the ruling Workers' Party to address what he described as the "prevailing tense situation", state media reported.

The gathering of the Central Committee comes after Kim's Hanoi summit with US President Donald Trump broke up without agreement in February, and as South Korean President Moon Jae-in flies to Washington for talks with the US leader.

But the North's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) appeared to indicate that Kim may be focussing on Pyongyang's continued push to develop its economy.

In a meeting with senior officials Tuesday, Kim ordered them to display "an attitude befitting the masters of the revolution and construction under the prevailing tense situation and thus follow through on the new strategic line of the Party", KCNA reported.

Last April Kim declared that the ruling party's "new strategic line" would be "socialist economic construction" and its quest for nuclear development was complete.

Kim made "a deep analysis of the matters pending urgent solution in the party and state", KCNA said, adding that at yesterday's meeting the central committee was set to "decide the new orientation and ways of struggle in line with the need of the prevailing revolutionary situation".

It comes ahead of the opening of the country's rubber stamp legislature today.

Cheong Seong-chang, an analyst at the Sejong Institute, said it would be difficult for Kim to lay out a new policy direction while Trump continues to express a willingness to maintain dialogue.

Instead yesterday's meeting could involve a reshuffle of party officials including Kim Yong Chol, the North's top envoy for talks with the US, who has been "blamed the most for the failure of the Hanoi summit", he said.

"It would signal a green light if he is replaced with a more flexible and practical figure, but if he stays, denuclearisation talks won't be easy," Cheong said.

Trump and Kim held their first landmark summit in Singapore last June, where the North Korean leader signed a vaguely-worded deal on the "denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula".

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