North Korea skips mention of nuclear weapons at Supreme People's Assembly

Elizabeth Shim
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was absent at the meeting of the Supreme People's Assembly this week. Photo by KCNA/UPI
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was absent at the meeting of the Supreme People's Assembly this week. Photo by KCNA/UPI | License Photo

April 12 (UPI) -- North Korea avoided references to its nuclear weapons program in official statements as the South Korean government monitors the regime ahead of an inter-Korea summit in April.

Newsis reported Thursday that during a session of the Supreme People's Assembly held Wednesday to observe Kim Jong Un's sixth year in power, the term "nuclear" was not mentioned before delegates, according to Seoul's unification ministry.


The meeting instead introduced the term "strategic state" to address the issue of national security, Seoul said.

The changes were visible in the report issued by Choe Ryong Hae, one of North Korea's most powerful officials.

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Choe, vice chairman of the Central Committee of the Korean Workers' Party, refrained from any mention of nuclear power.

"Under the direction of the strategic state, that which has been firmly lifted up is the achievement of the supreme leader," Choe said, using what may have been a euphemism for North Korea's nuclear weapons policy.

The unification ministry said the report previously made explicit references to nuclear weapons, and the change is noteworthy, Newsis reported.

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It is unclear whether the changes were made because of a possible agreement between Seoul and Pyongyang to lower the temperature on North Korea's militant rhetoric.

In other areas North Korea appeared to take a critical position against the South.

But the criticism targeted actions South Korea took at the United Nations a month ago.

State-controlled news agency KCNA said Thursday the South was duplicitous in supporting possible additional sanctions at the U.N. Security Council.

"The South Korean authorities' show of support ahead of time for [additional sanctions] is a two-faced act before a unitary people, smiling on the outside and inwardly pursuing other dreams," KCNA stated.

Yonhap reported Kim did not make an appearance at the Supreme People's Assembly, ahead of his summit with South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

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