North Korea's rubber-stamp parliament to convene in January: State media

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SEOUL: North Korea's parliament will hold its next session in January, when it will make plans for the coming year, including on the country's budget, state media said on Wednesday (Dec 12).

The country's rubber-stamp legislature meets only once or twice a year, usually for day-long sessions to approve decisions deemed necessary by the ruling Workers' Party.

"The 8th Session of the 14th Supreme People's Assembly (SPA) of the DPRK will be convened in Pyongyang on January 17," the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported.

The session is set to include a review of the work of 2022, plans for 2023, discussions on the central prosecutor's office, the state budget, "the law on the protection of the cultured Pyongyang dialect, the issue of the work of the Central Public Prosecutors Office and an organisational matter", KCNA said.

It is not clear whether North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will attend.

SPA meetings are watched closely by the international community for indications of any changes in economic policy or staffing shake-ups among high-ranking officials.

In 2022, the Supreme People's Assembly convened in September and February.

Military pressure on the Korean peninsula has risen sharply this year as Pyongyang has carried out an unprecedented blitz of weapons tests, including the launch of its most advanced intercontinental ballistic missile last month.

The flurry of launches also saw a missile cross the de facto maritime border and land near South Korea's territorial waters for the first time since the end of the Korean War in 1953.

Amid the tensions, Seoul and Washington have spent months warning that Pyongyang is possibly gearing up to conduct the country's seventh nuclear test.

After overseeing the launch of the Hwasong-17 "monster" missile in November - with his young daughter in tow - Kim declared he wanted North Korea to have the world's most powerful nuclear force.

At a politburo meeting last week, Kim said 2023 would be a "historic year," marking 75 years since the country's founding, according to KCNA.

He said it was "very important ... to find innovative ways for solving the problems by tapping our potentiality" after a year of "unprecedented adversity" in 2022.

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