North Korea said Saturday it will hold on April 10 a session of its top legislature for the first time since August, amid the continuing deadlock in its denuclearization negotiations with the United States.
At a session of the Supreme People's Assembly in April last year, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un urged Washington to make concessions on economic sanctions against Pyongyang, but talks between the two countries did not move forward.
Since earlier this year, Kim has emphasized that North Korea will make a "frontal breakthrough," voicing resolve to rebuild the domestic economy "by dint of self-reliance" without giving in to sanctions imposed by its "enemies."
(North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is pictured guiding a firepower strike drill on March 9, 2020.)
North Korea, meanwhile, has apparently resumed provocations against the United States recently, while stepping up efforts to prevent a spread of the new pneumonia-casing coronavirus, first detected late last year in the central Chinese city of Wuhan.
Earlier Saturday, North Korea fired what are believed to be two short-range ballistic missiles into the Sea of Japan, South Korea's military said. It is the third time this year that Pyongyang has fired missiles, following similar launches on March 2 and 9.
The Supreme People's Assembly is normally convened once a year in April to rubber-stamp budgetary and personnel matters already decided by the ruling Workers' Party of Korea, headed by Kim.
Last year, the unicameral legislature held a session in August, during which it revised the country's Constitution to bolster Kim's power as head of state. It was the first time since 2014 for the assembly to be convened for a second time in the same year.