N. Korea to convene parliament as economic woes cause strain

·1 min read
General view of the 14th Supreme People's Assembly of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea in Pyongyang

SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korea's Supreme People's Assembly (SPA), the isolated state's rubber-stamp parliament, will meet on Sept. 28 to discuss economic policy and other issues, state media reported on Thursday, as the country faces mounting economic crises.

On the agenda are "modification and supplementation" of the national economic plan, as well as laws related to city and country development, education and recycling, KCNA news agency reported.

The North's parliament rarely meets and usually serves to approve decisions on issues such as governing structures and budgets that have been created by the state's powerful Workers' Party, members of which form the vast majority of the assembly.

The decision to convene the parliament came at a plenary meeting of the SPA's standing committee on Tuesday, KCNA said.

North Korea's economy suffered its biggest contraction in 23 years in 2020 as it was battered by continued U.N. sanctions, COVID-19 lockdown measures and bad weather, South Korea's central bank has estimated.

North Korea has not confirmed any COVID-19 cases, but closed borders and imposed strict prevention measures, seeing the pandemic as a matter of national survival.

In June, leader Kim Jong Un said the country faced a "tense" food situation, citing the pandemic and last year's typhoons. This summer has seen another round of damaging storms, raising concerns that the harvest could be affected.

(Reporting by Josh Smith; Editing by Christopher Cushing)

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