N. Korea to convene key parliamentary meeting amid animosity toward S. Korea

SEOUL, North Korea is scheduled to convene a key parliamentary meeting Monday amid key attention over whether its rubber-stamp parliament will approve a constitutional revision on inter-Korean unification. The meeting comes as North Korean leader Kim Jong-un defined inter-Korean ties as relations between "two states hostile to each other" at a year-end party meeting, saying there is no point seeking unification with South Korea. The North earlier announced its plan to hold the 10th session of the 14th Supreme People's Assembly (SPA) on Monday to discuss the state budget of 2024. North Korean state media has not reported whether the SPA session started. The session is widely expected to last for at least two days, and its outcome could be made public Wednesday. The SPA is the highest organ of state power under the North's constitution, but it actually only rubber-stamps decisions by the ruling Workers' Party of Korea (WPK). Drawing keen attention is whether North Korea's parliament will revise the Consti tution or related acts to take into account its leader Kim's new definition of inter-Korean relations. North Korea has maintained a blueprint for unification that the country's late founder Kim Il-sung unveiled in 1980. North Korea has claimed the only realistic way to achieve unification is the federation system, which calls for respecting each other's differences in political ideology and government system in the form of "one state and two systems." Lee Kyu-chang, a senior research fellow at the state-run Korea Institute for National Unification, said North Korea is expected to take measures to provide legal grounds for setting inter-Korean relations as the state-to-state relationship. "In a follow-up to the WPK's plenary meeting, North Korea is likely to push to delete or revise clauses related to unification under the Constitution and revise the nationality law to regard South Koreans as foreigners," Lee said in a recent report. In September, the SPA stipulated the policy of the country's nuclear for ce in the constitution, after the North's leader called for an "exponential" increase in the nation's nuclear arsenal at a year-end party meeting in 2022. Kim is not one of the deputies to the SPA, but he may attend the parliamentary meeting to deliver his hawkish stance against South Korea or the United States. In an SPA session in April 2019, Kim voiced his willingness to hold his third summit with then U.S. President Donald Trump following the no-deal second summit in early 2019. In a meeting in September 2021, Kim said he would restore the severed inter-Korean communication channel. During an SPA meeting in September 2022, the North's leader publicly announced the legalization of nuclear weapons, as its parliament approved a new law that allows for a preemptive nuclear strike. Source: Yonhap News Agency