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North Korea's top diplomat attends second day of Party meeting

North Korea's top diplomat attends second day of Party meeting
North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Son Gwon was in attendance at the third plenary meeting of the Workers' Party's Eighth Central Committee on Day 2 of the event, state media images show. File Photo by EPA-EFE

June 17 (UPI) -- North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Son Gwon was in attendance at the third plenary meeting of the Workers' Party's Eighth Central Committee on Day 2 of the event, but state media did not mention foreign policy.

KCNA reported Thursday that top officials determined goals and policies for the second half of the year by industrial sector. Tasks are to be undertaken by divisions, including in the areas of railway transport, metals, coal, electricity and construction, state media said.

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"A project was carried out to study the draft decision to be presented at the plenary meeting," KCNA said. The report also said the plenary meeting would continue for a third day.

Ri, who was appointed foreign minister in January 2020, was seen at the meeting with other members of North Korea's Politburo. Kim Jong Un presided over the second day of meetings, state media images show.

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Ri's presence at the meeting on Day 2 could be an indicator that North Korea discussed foreign policy, including its policies toward the United States and South Korea. Kim has maintained radio silence since U.S. President Joe Biden and South Korean President Moon Jae-in held a summit in May.

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The plenary meeting is the most important event for the Workers' Party after the Party Congress, held in January, according to South Korean network KBS.

North Korean state media report of the plenary meeting Thursday highlighted images of a party at work. Photos showed top officials engaging in discussions.

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A South Korean unification ministry official said the meeting may have been designed to convey to North Korean citizens that the Workers' Party is getting ready to achieve established targets in the second half of 2021.

Yang Moo-jin, a South Korean analyst at the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul, told KBS that North Korean images showing officials debating ideas might be "unprecedented."

"It seems to have been an intensive discussion," Yang said.

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