North Korean Parliament meets but no sight of Kim

North Korean Parliament meets but no sight of Kim
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

SEOUL - North Korea's Parliament met yesterday for its second session this year, with observers watching for personnel and policy changes.

The event was also monitored for an appearance by leader Kim Jong Un, who has not been seen in public since he attended a concert with his wife on Sept 3, prompting speculation about his health, news agency Agence France-Presse reported.

Previous video footage on state media had shown him walking with a pronounced limp.

Last night, Mr Kim was not seen in state footage of the event and a dispatch from KCNA news agency did not list him among the officials present. One significant development noticed by South Korean media is that General Choe Ryong Hae, a key confidant of Mr Kim and who was believed to have fallen out of favour, has been named to the country's top sports post, succeeding Jang Song Thaek, Mr Kim's uncle, who was executed in December for treason.

Gen Choe's appointment shows that he is still playing an important role, even though he had to step down from a top military post earlier this year to make way for General Hwang Pyong So, reported South Korean daily JoongAng Ilbo.

Some observers speculated that some reshuffle in the top leadership would be announced at yesterday's meeting, particularly considering the two generals.

The Supreme People's Assembly meets only once or twice a year, mostly for day-long sessions to pass budgets or other decisions made by the ruling Workers' Party.

This article was first published on Sep 26, 2014.
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