Will Overcome Effect Of Sanctions, Says North Korea's Kim Jong Un

Moon Jae-in is flying to Washington for a meeting with Donald Trump

But several North Korea watchers, including Sue Mi Terry, a North Korean expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and a former Asia analyst at the Central Intelligence Agency, said Moon was expected to try to persuade Trump - perhaps only privately - to agree to ease some sanctions to keep the talks alive.

The 687 lawmakers in the nominal parliament are elected for a period of five years, while turnout at the polls in March was over 90 per cent.

Kim also acquired a new title, and now becomes "the supreme representative of all the Korean people" - a newly-created role that observers say makes him more like a modern national leader, on a par with other country's presidents and prime ministers.

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

The second summit between Trump and Kim over Pyongyang's denuclearization collapsed in late February.

When asked if a three-way summit with Kim and Moon is also possible, Trump said "that could happen also".

Before the meeting, Trump noted that good things had come out of negotiations with North Korea even though Washington did not get what it wanted from the meetings with Kim.

During key party meetings held ahead of the parliamentary session, Kim stressed the importance of "self-reliance" repeatedly and urged his people to follow through on the party's strategic line of economic development.

"This appears to reflect leader Kim's intention to actively pursue negotiations with the USA aimed at easing sanctions going forward", Cheong Seong-chang, vice president at the Sejong Institute think tank, said.

Kim Jong-un addressed his politburo ahead of a meeting of the country's parliament
Kim Jong-un addressed his politburo ahead of a meeting of the country's parliament Credit KCNA via KNS AFP

He is also one of the three North Korean officials sanctioned by the United States past year over human rights abuse allegations.

Kim Yong Nam, who held the position for nearly 20 years, was replaced by Choe Ryong Hae, who will take over the role of representing Pyongyang at global engagements, KCNA said.

He also left the possibility open that a three-way summit with Kim and Moon "could happen also", but admitting that would largely depend on Chairman Kim.

Pak Pong Ju had served two separate terms as premier, from 2003 to 2007 and from 2013 to 2019, according to North Korea Watch.

"I believe the North is coming up with very dramatic economic reforms to survive the sanctions".

On Thursday, US President Donald Trump, who has had two summits with Kim to discuss North Korean denuclearization and has expressed his willingness for a third, said Washington would leave sanctions in place.

"Indeed, North Korea has beefed up significant resilience against sanctions over a long period of time", he added. But the younger Kim has more openly embraced many of those market changes, and North Korea has sought to ease sanctions and attract more private investment.

The province is known within North Korea, however, for having a spirit of overcoming hardship, which may fit with Kim Jong Un's message of persevering under sanctions, Hong said.

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