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North Korean regime 'shifting to traditional socialist party system'

By Jennie Oh
A photo released by the North Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), the state news agency of North Korea, shows a meeting of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea held on under the guidance of Kim Jong Un, on Apr. 9, 2018. Photo by KCNA
A photo released by the North Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), the state news agency of North Korea, shows a meeting of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea held on under the guidance of Kim Jong Un, on Apr. 9, 2018. Photo by KCNA

SEOUL, April 18 (UPI) -- The North Korean regime appears to be shifting towards a model socialist government, ahead of its upcoming summits with South Korean and the United States.

The North's state-run Korean Central News Agency said Thursday that the central committee of the ruling Workers' Party will convene a plenary meeting to deliberate on policy issues "that accommodate the needs of the important historic period of the party's revolution."

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The meeting will be held Friday, a week before the historic inter-Korean meeting takes place on the southern side of the Panmunjom truce village.

This has led observers to wonder whether the North will decide on a change of policy regarding its nuclear and missile programs.

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Also, what's drawn attention is that the regime appears to be showing a party-led decision-making system for state affairs, as seen in socialist countries such as China and Vietnam.

The North under Kim's father Kim Jong Il had seen a military-centered political system, with policies discussed at the ruling party often overlooked, Yonhap reported.

However, the younger Kim has held one to two plenary sessions a year, since taking power in 2011, and formerly becoming leader of the Workers' Party the following year.

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In 2013, the committee members adopted his signature Byongjin policy line, which aims to achieve both nuclear and economic development.

Earlier this month, the dictator led a meeting of the party committee's political bureau, where he reportedly analyzed the prospects of inter-Korean relations and his summit with the United States, as well as suggesting various response plans.

"One notable feature of the Kim Jong UN regime is that important policy decisions are being made within a framework that is centered on the ruling Workers' Party," said Yang Moo-jin, a professor at the University of North Korean Studies.

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"It seems policy-making procedures seen in a traditional socialist country will become more and more publicized," he said.

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