Saturday, March 05, 2005

N Korea postpones annual parliament session

By Song Jung-a, Financial Times, March 4, 2005

North Korea on Friday postponed its annual parliamentary session due to start next week, amid growing tension over its nuclear weapons development programme. The Communist state gave no reason for the abrupt postponement of the Supreme People's Assembly session, with Pyongyang's official Korean Central News Agency only saying the decision was made “at the requests made by deputies to the SPA in all domains of the socialist construction.”

The Supreme People's Assembly is North Korea's top legislative body, which convenes to approve budgets and rubber-stamp policies made by North Korean leader Kim Jong-il. In 2003, it ratified a government decision to increase its “nuclear deterrent force.”South Korea's unification ministry said it was trying to find a reason for the postponement, but ruled out a possibility that it was due to any political problems. But the unprecedented move puzzled political watchers, as it came after North Korea declared it had nuclear weapons and threatened to resume missile tests.------------

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