PYONGYANG, North Korea, April 8 (UPI) -- North Korea-watchers say they are keeping a close eye on this week's meeting of a new parliament, which is expected to reaffirm Kim Jong Il as military chief.
Although the Supreme People's Assembly serves as merely a rubber stamp in the nation, its reaffirmation of Kim as the North's military's leader after last weekend's internationally condemned rocket launch will send a message that Pyongyang is committed to a defiant stance, the South Korean news agency Yonhap reported Wednesday.
The Assembly meets beginning Thursday and is also expected to confirm shake-ups in Cabinet and the military. The biggest question is how extensively Kim will move to reshuffle the National Defense Commission, which serves as the country's supreme military command, analysts said.
If, for instance, Kim replaces the second-ranking leader of the commission with a younger official, it may signal that he's looking to have quick senior-level talks with Washington, Cheong Seong-chang, a senior fellow with the non-governmental Sejong Institute in Seoul, told Yonhap.