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North Korea summons ambassadors from Beijing, Moscow

By Elizabeth Shim
North Korea summons ambassadors from Beijing, Moscow
North Korean diplomats were seen at Beijing's international airport on Tuesday, according to a South Korean press report. File Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI | License Photo

SEOUL, April 9 (UPI) -- North Korea's ambassadors to China and Russia have been summoned back to Pyongyang, raising the possibility Kim Jong Un may have a big announcement he is likely to make at the 14th Supreme People's Assembly this week.

A source in Beijing who spoke to Seoul Shinmun on the condition of anonymity said North Korean Ambassadors Ji Jae Ryong in China and Kim Hyong Jun in Moscow were seen at Beijing's international airport before they boarded an Air Koryo flight on Tuesday.

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The two North Korean diplomats are returning to Pyongyang ahead of the assembly. A Seoul Shinmun source said the diplomats are being summoned because of the meeting.

Kim Jong Un is launching the second term of his rule on Thursday, according to the report.

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The North Korean leader was not found on a list of delegates newly elected to the assembly in March. His absence from the list is raising questions; he had been elected to the assembly five years ago.

Some analysts, including high-profile defector Thae Yong-ho, have said Kim Jong Un is probably looking to be appointed titular head-of-state.

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Kim Yong Nam, president of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly, currently serves in the position.

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Kim Jong Un could be calling in the diplomats in Beijing and Moscow to discuss a new strategy on resuming dialogue with the United States. Ji and Kim Hyong Jun are also the top diplomats in countries that have consistently supported easing sanctions against Pyongyang.

South Korean news service Newsis reported Tuesday the 14th assembly will include elections of officials to state institutions and a speech from Kim Jong Un addressing the North Korean people.

North Korea's Supreme People's Assembly serves as the nation's parliament but also has the authority to direct all state institutions, including the executive branch and the judiciary, according to the report.

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